State and Province News January 2011
Dozens of employees from Texas Crushed Stone and neighboring Georgetown Railroad attended a recent Georgetown Council meeting to protest the community’s annexation plan, which includes the property of both companies. Community Impact Newspaper reports that more than 60 people packed council chambers for the second public hearing on the involuntary annexation of nearly 6,000 acres. Texas Crushed Stone has a limestone quarry in that area that has operated since 1958 and employs 121 people.
A proposed gravel pit in Underhill might once again resurface before area residents. According to The Burlington Free Press, community voters were strongly in favor of retaining a purchase option on land near the village center that could be developed as a gravel pit and used to lower the town’s costs for road repair and winter sanding. To move forward, the project would require voters to approve the purchase and a bond to secure financing. In earlier public meetings, the Selectboard described the proposed operation as a 20-year site with crushing and screening taking place on a maximum of 30 days a year.
CalPortland has agreed to sell its 236-acre mine on Maury Island to King County for $36 million. The News Tribune reports that the state Legislature approved an allocation of $14.5 million from the $188 million Asarco settlement to help buy the property. Another $19.1 million is to be advanced from the King County Conservation Futures Fund, which can be used only to buy open space or resource lands. A final $2.4 million will come from an extension of a county lease on another gravel pit on the island to CalPortland, royalty-free, from 2020 to 2030. Ron Summers, senior vice president of the Materials Group at CalPortland, estimated that the company spent about $10 million on the permitting process and mitigation of the site. He told the newspaper that he had mixed feelings about the agreement and noted that its effect will be felt in another five to 10 years as the population grows and other reserves are depleted.
The Ontario Municipal Board ruled against James Dick Construction Ltd., which had been trying for more than a decade to open a pit on its 220-acre property near the Niagara Escarpment. The Globe and Mail reports that, following the ruling, the proposed quarry is “now all but dead.” Moreen Miller, president of the Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, told the newspaper that, “this speaks to the need to find and license additional resources within the Greater Toronto Area.”