Rejected Wilmot gravel pit headed to Ontario Land Court

The owner of an unsuccessful gravel pit application is taking his case to the Ontario Land Court.

On April 12, Wilmot Township Council rejected a proposal to re-zone a property on Witmer Road known as the “Hallman Pit” for use a gravel mine.

The decision came after over 50 people spoke against the proposal over the course of two council meetings.

“We should be listening to the people, the residents, of Wilmot Township,” Mayor of Wilmot Les Armstrong said at the meeting. “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.”

Residents spoke about concerns about drinking water safety, noise, dust and damage to the land.

Council’s decision came despite township staff’s recommendation to approve the zone change.

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.

In an emailed statement on Friday, the applicant Rick Esbaugh said they are finalizing a formal appeal of council’s decision to the impartial Ontario Land Tribunal.

Esbaugh said:

“We are very disappointed by council’s decision considering it’s the province, region and township who dictate the technical thresholds required for every gravel pit application, and not only did our project team achieve those high thresholds, every concern raised by our neighbors was considered, and each technical report was further peer reviewed which confirmed our Hallman Pit will meet or exceed those established industry standards. Furthermore, we’re surprised that council ignored the planning reports prepared by the region and their own professional planning staff which recommended approval of the application.”

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