REPORT TO: Mayor Bonnette and Members of Council
REPORT FROM: Terry Alyman, Director of Recreation & Parks
c/o Acton Quarry After-Use Task Force
DATE: May 17, 2011
REPORT NO.: R-2011-0034
RE: Acton Quarry After-Use Council Workshop Report and Staff
THAT Report R-2011-0034 dated May 17, 2011 regarding the Acton Quarry After-Use
Council Workshop Report and Staff Directions Report be received;
AND FURTHER THAT Council authorize staff to proceed with the follow-up “Directions”
clearly delineated as such in Report R-2011-0034;
AND FURTHER THAT Council direct staff to prepare a term sheet for each of the
following agreements as outlined in Report R-2011-0034, for Council’s review in order
to safeguard the Town’s interest in the event that the current extension application is
(i) Glen Lawson Trail Lands Partnership Agreement
(ii) Development Agreement
(iii) After-Use Maintenance Agreement
(iv) Water Management Agreement
(v) Conveyance Agreement
(vi) Crusher Relocation Agreement
(vii) Haul Route Mitigation Agreement
AND FURTHER THAT staff report back to Council with additional information pursuant
to the Actions outlined in this report, and with the proposed term sheets for Council’s
consideration and endorsement before any negotiations with Dufferin commence.
On November 15, 2010 Council approved Recommendation NO. GC-2010-0002 being
MEM-R-2010-0002 dated October 27, 2010 regarding Acton Quarry Task Force –
On December 16, 2010 Council approved Recommendation No. GC-2010-0260 being
Report ADMIN-2010-0061 dated December 1, 2010 regarding the Request from
Dufferin Aggregates/Holcim – Acton Quarry Expansion and Rehabilitation Plan, as
THAT ADMIN-2010-0061 regarding – Request from Dufferin Aggregates/Holcim -
Acton Quarry Expansion and Rehabilitation Plan be received;
AND FURTHER THAT the Mayor and Town Council hold a public open workshop
meeting involving representatives of Dufferin Aggregates/Holcim and Town Council
to review the proposed Rehabilitation Plan for the existing area and the proposed
expansion area as part of the Dufferin Aggregates/Holcim’s Acton Quarry Expansion
AND FURTHER THAT the workshop be held on the basis that any discussions
regarding the proposed Rehabilitation Plan are subject to the Acton Quarry
Expansion being satisfactory to Council on a scientific and environmental
remediation basis and on the basis that it receives all necessary approvals and
AND FURTHER THAT the Staff Task Force Chaired by Terry Alyman, Director of
Recreation and Parks be authorized to organize the public open workshop to be held
in January/February 2011 with public notice being given of the workshop and with
the workshop being organized in a manner that allows the public to be in attendance
at the workshop and to ask questions and/or make comments.
On Monday, March 21, 2011 a Council Workshop Meeting was held at the Acton Town
Hall with Dufferin Aggregate Officials. The formal workshop meeting was preceded by a
tour of the Acton Quarry site in order to provide a better experiential context to the
The workshop meeting was facilitated by Maureen McCauley of McCauley – Nichols &
Associates, and contained three distinct components including;
a) an overview of the Joint Aggregate Review Team (JART) process, as it related to
the technical review of the current extension application from Dufferin
Aggregates, by the Town’s planning staff.
b) An interactive presentation by Andrea Bourrie, Director, Planning and Regulatory
Affairs – Dufferin Aggregates.
c) An opportunity for the public to provide comments on the workshop discussion
between Council and Dufferin Aggregates.
Representatives from the Acton Tanner and the Independent & Free Press were in
attendance to report on the workshop. In addition Cogeco staff taped the proceedings in
order to televise the workshop meeting to the broader community.
The overall purpose of the meeting was summarized as follows;
• To engage Council in dialogue with regard to the after use of the Acton quarry,
including after use options with respect to (i) the existing quarry and (ii) the
• To outline key questions of clarification from both Council and Dufferin.
• To answer those questions where possible and provide a process for follow up
where answers can’t be provided at the workshop.
• To provide staff direction with respect to a follow up report.
The purpose of this report is to summarize the directions/issues identified by Council at
the workshop, to provide relevant information with regard to each of the
directions/issues, and to present additional recommendations for Council’s
consideration in order to safeguard the Town’s interest as it relates to the Dufferin
Quarry After-Use Plan.
Based on the recorded notes of the workshop facilitator, in addition to staff notes on the
nature of the dialogue, the following is a summary of the key issues identified by Council
and/or Dufferin Aggregates, as well as the public, resulting from the workshop;
Glen Lawson Trail Lands - Partnership
Dufferin Aggregates owns the property that is commonly referred to as the Glen Lawson
Trail lands. These lands reside adjacent to but outside of the licensed extraction area to
the north-east. The future use of the property is intended to be largely passive in nature
with a pedestrian trail network that would serve to link the Guelph Radial Trail to the
west, and the Bruce Trail from the south. Dufferin Aggregates took the opportunity to
reiterate their previous offer that they wish to work in partnership with a public agency to
develop these lands for this purpose.
A member of the public cautioned Council with regard to this site being a former waste
disposal site. Staff is aware of this fact and note that the Region of Halton has
jurisdiction over the decommissioning and environmental condition of such sites.
The cost to develop these lands for trail purposes including boardwalks in
environmentally sensitive areas are estimated at $425,000 (2007 costing). This cost
estimate has been provided to staff by Dufferin and is based on a conceptual plan on
That staff follow up with the Region of Halton to obtain additional
information on the environmental condition of these lands.
That staff review and provide updated cost estimates for the development
of trails and related features associated with the conceptual plan.
Conveyance of Licensed Area into Public Ownership
By virtue of the Minutes of Settlement between the Town of Halton Hills and United
Aggregates (assigned to Dufferin Aggregates therein), the Town has the first right of
refusal to acquire the lands contained within the licensed area for $1.00, upon
completion of the extraction. This conveyance is further predicated on the effective
resolution of the value of the aggregate situated directly beneath the Third Line and 22nd
Sideroad within the licensed area. Notwithstanding the Town’s option in this regard, it is
Dufferin Aggregates intent to ultimately convey the licensed area into public ownership.
In other words, should the Town not exercise their option, Dufferin’s objective is to
continue to negotiate conveyance of the lands to another public agency.
Approved Rehabilitation Plan for the Existing Licensed Area
The Ministry of Natural Resources has approved a Progressive and Final Rehabilitation
Plan for the licensed area. The approved plan is illustrated in Appendix A of this report
and includes a perspective view that is intended to illustrate the condition of the land
that the Town (or other public agency) would receive upon conveyance – Appendix B.
The licensed area can be referenced in three distinct phases, and the characteristics of
each phase are summarized as follows;
• Combination of exposed rock face and sloped areas.
• A 50+/- hectare lake with ground level entry from the easterly side.
• Lake level threshold is to be managed by an overflow weir (channel) to Black
• Wetland area
• Landform shaped to accommodate two table land areas that were anticipated
to be used for future active recreational purposes (i.e. field sports).
• Combination of exposed rock face and sloped areas with hummocky
• Dry bowl achieved through continuous pumping to both Black Creek and
Sixteen Mile Creek watersheds.
• Exposed rock face.
• Dry bowl achieved through continuous pumping to Sixteen Mile Creek
Cost Related to Development and Maintenance of Licensed Area
Council directed staff to provide cost estimates associated with developing and
maintaining the site. In so doing, staff acknowledge that there are three distinct cost
areas including (i) the cost associated with managing the water on the site, (ii) cost to
develop the site consistent with the amenities outlined in the Vision for the after-use,
and (iii) the on-going cost of maintaining the active recreational area as envisioned.
Long-term Water Management ($94,240/year)
Dufferin staff has provided cost estimates with regards to the management and
monitoring of water on the site. The cost projections include staff time, utility
costs, maintenance, and capital replacement. The estimated costs are $94,240
annually. The details related to this cost estimate by Conestoga Rovers &
Associates are outlined in appendix C of this report.
Capital Construction ($ 18 million)
Staff wish to qualify that the cost estimates associated with the capital
development are based on certain assumptions. Council should first note that the
plan for the active recreational area (trails and playfields) is viewed by staff as
conceptual only. The actual master plan for the site would be subject to further
rationalization and NEC approval, which will be discussed in a subsequent
section of this report. For Council’s benefit the proposed active recreational area
is roughly the size and scope of the Trafalgar Sports Park. With this in mind staff
estimate that that capital cost associated with the development of the site is
approximately at $18 million.
Annual Maintenance ($ 300,000/year)
Staff have estimated the annual cost of maintenance based on the Town’s
current cost per acre for existing active recreation areas.
In all cases, the capital and annual operating costs identified above are estimates based
on current costs only. As such they are intended to provide Council with a general
magnitude of cost in today’s dollars. Each cost item would be subject to change based
on inflationary factors, and final design.
Water Management – Other Considerations
The previous section identified an approximate cost for water management of the
licensed area, as currently approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)
rehabilitation plan. The pumping in this case relates to the water that would otherwise
gather in Phase 2 and Phase 3 and pumped into supportive wetland areas in the
Sixteen Mile Creek (Conservation Halton) watershed. In addition, there is some
discharge of water from Phase 2 into Phase 1, which in turn flows into Black Creek.
Dufferin’s Hydrogeology Consultants – Conestoga Rovers, have identified different
scenarios that could ultimately impact water management within the licensed area, and
flows into either/or the Black Creek (CVC) watershed or the Sixteen Mile Creek
(Conservation Halton) watershed. The scenarios include (i) the current approved MNR
plan, (ii) removal of the Permit To Take Water (PTTW) from Dufferin at the conclusion of
the extraction of the licensed area, (iii) new plan for PTTW should the extension be
Staff will attempt to summarize the related impacts associate with each scenario. The
over-riding premise however is the need for Town staff to engage the CVC,
Conservation Halton, Halton Region, MOE and the MNR in obtaining a better collective
understanding of the impacts related to the various scenarios contained herein.
(i) Existing Approval
According to Conestoga Rovers, they do not believe that the approved plan for pumping
takes into full consideration the collateral impact to the Black Creek Watershed. Firstly
once extraction is complete the overall volume of water that will flow from Phase 1 will
be reduced. Secondly the approved passive flow system will not allow the flow to be
managed in the same manner that the watershed has experienced flows for the past
number of decades. They have expressed concerns to staff with regard to the notion
that the water will largely flow during the spring freshets and the fall rainy periods. As a
result, they believe from their historic water management experience that very little
water will flow passively into Black Creek during the summer or dry periods. The
specific issue for the Town and ultimately the Region is how this change in water
discharge from the site will impact “base flows” within the Black Creek, and this
relationship to the assimilative capacity of Black Creek to support the Town’s waste
water treatment currently and/or into the future. The issue of more volatile flows into
Black Creek may also have an impact on other watershed related issues.
(ii) Changes to Existing Approval – After-Use
Dufferin has advised Town staff that MNR has suggested that after the license has been
surrendered, the PTTW may not be available as they are usually associated with
operations as opposed to “after-use”. Should this occur, the dry-bowls that are currently
approved would simply be allowed to fill up over time (decades). Dufferin has tabled
their concerns with staff should MNR proceed with this course of action for two reasons.
Firstly, Dufferin believes that without some degree of pumping, the supportive wetlands
within the Sixteen Mile Creek watershed would be adversely impacted, and secondly
the lake level in Phase 2 is likely to overflow the Niagara Escarpment in the low-lying
(south-east) corner adversely impacting the Fourth Line.
(iii) Potential Expansion
Should the expansion be approved, and notwithstanding the previous two scenarios
during the extraction period, there is a significant amount of stored water that would be
retained on the lands. This in turn requires further discussion with key agencies with
respect to what opportunities might exist for environmental, recreational, security, and
support to municipal water/waste-water services.
That staff further investigate the water impacts and opportunities available
on the Dufferin’s lands individually or collectively with key agencies
including the CVC, Conservation Halton, Region of Halton, MOE and MNR.
Proposed or Future Use of the Licensed Area
As indicated previously, the approved rehabilitation plan for the licensed area is
premised on an overall Vision. The vision anticipates that the majority of the lands will
be conservation lands with the exception of Phase 1. These lands are anticipated to be
used for more active public recreational purposes. The vision in which the land forms
have been shaped, are based on Dufferin’s interpretation of NEC policy as it relates to
permissible uses. The eventual development of the lands would be subject to a
development application and approvals process by the NEC.
In other words, staff are unsure at this time how the NEC might interpret the proposed
conceptual plan and uses, let alone other uses such as “concerts” that were eluded to
by Council. Staff acknowledge that it is critical for Council to understand what
permissible public recreational uses the NEC might approve for these lands. Staff
submit that it is difficult for the NEC to provide any approvals without a detailed
development application submitted by the Town. Notwithstanding this, staff believe that
a policy discussion among the senior management of the Town and the NEC in this
case could provide staff and subsequently Council with more confidence on the
development capability envisioned for this site.
That the Town’s Senior Management Team, through the CAO’s Office, meet
with senior officials of the NEC for the purpose of obtaining additional
clarity on the future development capability of this site, related to active
Business Case to Support Rehabilitation Plan
During the site tour of the Acton Quarry, Dufferin illustrated how they were proceeding
with finishing the various areas according to their obligations under the Aggregate
Resources Act and Rehabilitation Plan approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Officials also identified additional rehabilitation efforts that Dufferin completed to the site
beyond what was required. Dufferin’s ability to contribute additional financial support to
the development of the Vision related to the licensed area relies largely on the business
case that is afforded through the extension.
It is important to note at this time that the extension application shall be evaluated on its
technical merit through the JART process. Council will be asked to make a decision with
respect to the official plan and zoning by-law amendment applications and provide
comments on the other applications that have been submitted in support of their
proposal such as the Niagara Escarpment Plan Amendment, the development permit
and the Regional Official Plan Amendment. Council’s decision in this regard shall
Notwithstanding the above, and should the technical review of the extension application
be approved, staff believe that Council should secure distinct conditions as it relates to
the extension in advance of such a decision, including but not limited to the following;
• First right of refusal on the 300 hectares associated with the extension areas
upon the completion of the extraction, for nominal consideration.
• An agreement to fund the development and on-going maintenance and
stewardship of the Glen Lawson Trail lands area by 2015.
• A development agreement that would have Dufferin making significant financial
contributions (cash and in-kind) to fund the developed state of the licensed area,
within a defined period.
• A legacy fund agreement that would assist the Town in the long-term
maintenance and stewardship of the consolidated property holdings.
• An agreement that would see the relocation of the crusher plant from its current
location immediately after the extraction of Phase 4, in order to facilitate the
timely development of the public recreational area.
• An agreement to work with the Town and other public agencies as it relates to
water management on (i) the licensed area water, (ii) the licensed area during
extraction in the extension area, (iii) the licensed area and extension area after
extraction is complete – including required funding for on-going maintenance
related to water.
• An agreement to work with Town and Regional staff on a preferred haul route to
mitigate the truck traffic resulting from the on-going quarry operation on the
RELATIONSHIP TO STRATEGIC PLAN:
A.3(c) Recreation and Parks Strategic Action Plan Implementation – Parkland supply
A.7 To establish a greenspace network for the recreational use of residents that
compliments the Natural Heritage System.
A.8 To recognize that a healthy community is made up of an interconnected system
of open spaces and natural heritage features.
B.1(a) Continue to work with Credit Valley Conservation, Conservation Halton, and the
Grand River Conservation Authority to protect our ground water and surface water
B.3 To preserve, protect, enhance, and where possible, restore a Natural Heritage
System of significant natural heritage features and their areas, and their related
B.3(g) Maintain the Town’s current approach to acquiring and/or securing natural
heritage features into public ownership.
C.10 To promote opportunities for tourism that are linked to the Town’s natural
heritage and cultural heritage and countryside character.
E.1(b) Consider Niagara Escarpment and Protected Countryside lands when developing
priorities for the Town’s land securement strategy.
G.12(b) Proactively promote opportunities for private sector participation in front-ending
emerging growth related infrastructure requirements.
The report identifies a variety of future cost implications related to this site should the
Town wish to exercise its option at the appropriate time. The report further identifies a
series of proactive funding and management agreements that should be in place in
order to effectively mitigate the financial implications to the Town – if and only if the
extension is approved by the various agencies involved in the technical review.
As such, the immediate cost implications related to the recommendations contained in
this report would be for legal counsel review of all recommended agreements.
Staff will advise appropriate officials from Dufferin Aggregates and other agencies as
appropriate of the outcome of this report.
The environmental rehabilitation associated with the rehabilitation of the licensed area
has been established and approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The ultimate
vision for the licensed area is to improve upon this condition.
The task force is comprised of the Director of Planning Development and Sustainability,
the Director of Infrastructure Services, the Fire Chief, the Manager of Parks and Open
Space, and the Director of Recreation and Parks. The task force has consulted staff
from Dufferin Aggregates. Finally, the CAO was consulted on the preparation of this
Council hosted a workshop meeting pursuant to their Procedural By-law with Dufferin
Officials to engage in a dialogue with respect to the after-use plan for the Acton Quarry.
This report provides a summary of the key issues that were raised by Dufferin, Council,
and community members, as well as a series of follow up actions and proposed
agreement for Council’s consideration.
Terry Alyman Dennis Y. Perlin
Director of Recreation and Parks Chief Administrative Officer