‘Listening to the people’: Wilmot rejects re-zoning proposal for gravel pit

Wilmot Township council has rejected a proposal to re-zone agricultural land for a large gravel pit.

Council voted unanimously to reject the rezoning on Monday night after a second marathon meeting filled with public pushback.

“We should be listening to the people, the residents, of Wilmot Township,” said Les Armstrong, Mayor of Wilmot. “That hasn’t always happened, but I think we need to make sure that they are heard. For that reason, I will not be supporting.”

“My misgivings were not for protecting the ground water or listening to the citizens,” Coun. Jeff Gerber said. “My misgivings are just that we might be creating a situation with an ultimately worse outcome. Those are my only misgivings. If we are successful in stopping this at the local level, we will have done an important thing for the province and ideally that’s the case.”

Council heard from dozens of delegates opposed to the plan for the property along Witmer Road during Monday’s meeting. Many raised concerns about drinking water sources, noise, dust and damage to the land.

“By approving this gravel pit, the dirt will be on your hands,” Matt Rennie, a Wilmot resident said. “Ignorance is not bliss. Let’s use some common sense here and put this to rest before things even get the chance to start going wrong. The place is not here and the time is not now.”

“The two most important things to our survival, food and water, are both being threatened or taken away completely,” John Jordan, a Wilmot resident said.

Both the Grand River Conservation Authority and the Region of Waterloo indicated no concerns or objections with the plan.

The Region said it was satisfied the negative impacts would be mitigated as laid out in traffic, noise, and agricultural studies.

This may not be the end of Jackson Harvest Farms application for rezoning, as they indicated during the council meeting an appeal would be launched if the rezoning was denied.

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