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Rural living can be the pits

Before you slap a down payment on your own bucolic corner of heaven, look around you carefully -- because, trust me, there's almost always trouble of some sort brewing in paradise. If it isn't a landfill proposal, it's a gravel pit or a giant hog farm or a communications tower or biosolids being sprayed on the field next door. And now, a new danger: Dalton McGuinty's wind farms are sprouting all over rural Ontario.

A new wind farm, landfill, hog operation or gravel excavation can affect your bucolic corner of heaven

Oh sure, it's wonderful to be able to live the rural life. We love it and we wouldn't go back.

But before you slap a down payment on your own bucolic corner of heaven, look around you carefully -- because, trust me, there's almost always trouble of some sort brewing in paradise.

If it isn't a landfill proposal, it's a gravel pit or a giant hog farm or a communications tower or biosolids being sprayed on the field next door.

And now, a new danger: Dalton McGuinty's wind farms are sprouting all over rural Ontario faster than dandelions in spring -- two within the last three weeks in my area alone.

Yeah, you want to take a good long look before you move from the city to the country.

The latest uproar in my area is a St. Mary's Cement gravel pit proposal for 198 acres just south of the tiny village of Codrington, north of Brighton, Ont.

You can tell something's wrong by the big black "No Pit" signs on most front lawns around there and by the overheated rhetoric in local papers.

It's going to ruin our way of life, some say. It will affect everything, others... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A new wind farm, landfill, hog operation or gravel excavation can affect your bucolic corner of heaven

Oh sure, it's wonderful to be able to live the rural life. We love it and we wouldn't go back.

But before you slap a down payment on your own bucolic corner of heaven, look around you carefully -- because, trust me, there's almost always trouble of some sort brewing in paradise.

If it isn't a landfill proposal, it's a gravel pit or a giant hog farm or a communications tower or biosolids being sprayed on the field next door.

And now, a new danger: Dalton McGuinty's wind farms are sprouting all over rural Ontario faster than dandelions in spring -- two within the last three weeks in my area alone.

Yeah, you want to take a good long look before you move from the city to the country.

The latest uproar in my area is a St. Mary's Cement gravel pit proposal for 198 acres just south of the tiny village of Codrington, north of Brighton, Ont.

You can tell something's wrong by the big black "No Pit" signs on most front lawns around there and by the overheated rhetoric in local papers.

It's going to ruin our way of life, some say. It will affect everything, others say -- the water table, the animals, the nearby marsh, the kids waiting for the school bus. And, worst of all, property values will drop.

Or in other words: Not in my backyard.

Nothing, it seems, spawns angry public meetings faster than a gravel pit, although these days wind farms are close behind.

Wind farms deserve questions. Their safety is unproven and so is their reliability. But gravel pits are what allow us to maintain life as we know it in and around the GTA. We couldn't have our roads or all those condos in the sky or anything that requires concrete without them.

The stuff is like gold dust in our society and it has to come from somewhere. It happens that Codrington -- and much of the rest of this area, including the hill I live on top of -- is awash in aggregates.

That's the trouble with gravel: It is where it is. You can't move it to someone else's backyard.

Someone was so sure I'd be outraged too, they left some pit information in my mailbox. I read it, looked at the map and drove down to see the site.

Sorry, I'm not outraged -- although it's a pretty setting on a wooded hillside and I'm glad I'm not the owner of the one house that borders the extraction area or the big new one that will look into it.

In fact, hardly anyone else will be directly affected except those along the nearby county road who will have to endure lots of truck traffic -- 24/7 according to the opponents; 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. says the company, which has already agreed to modify its proposal on processing and trucking to address residents' worries.

NO COMPLAINTS

The mayor of Brighton, which will have to approve it, has said publicly that the company operates seven other pits, now nearly empty, in the municipality and there has never been a complaint about any of them.

The Ontario government's policy on pits has been clear: As many as possible as close to market as possible.

So, even if they delay it all the way to the Ontario Municipal Board, these people are getting a gravel pit. But it's not going to ruin their lives or end life as we know it in rural Ontario.

Actually, there are two smaller pits on my road and, except for being ugly, they affect me not at all.

I've often thought that instead of acres of lawn, I could open my own gravel pit: Connie's Sand and Gravel -- bring your own backhoe.

Hey, it could work.


Source: http://www.torontosun.com/c...

SEP 6 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/22066-rural-living-can-be-the-pits
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