Sand quarry expansion puts farmers on edge
A potential expansion of a rural sand quarry south of Ottawa is pitting neighbours against each other in a clash of the agriculture and construction industries.
Lafarge, one of Canada's largest construction material suppliers, is looking to expand its sand quarry near Kemptville to the displeasure of some residents.
"I thought I was moving to a nice, quiet country living where I can breathe clean air and have clean water," said Jeff Baribeau, who said he's worried about what it would do to his son's congenital heart disease. "Now we're faced with this."
"This" would be the news that Lafarge has bought a parcel of farmland near its existing sand and gravel quarry, which is running low.
Gary Loughlin said his father and grandfather sold their land to a small company 60 years ago, who then sold it to Lafarge which turned it into the large operation it is today – right in his backyard.
"There are days it is just unreal," Loughlin said, warning the new wuarry would end up looking the same. "None of us had any idea what would happen here."
Rick Hill farms across the road from the quarry and said it's pitting two industries against each other.
"Everybody needs the sand but everybody needs agriculture," he said. "It's going to affect my livelihood."
Lafarge said over the phone it hasn't yet applied for a license or re-zoning to expand the quarry; both things the municipality said would likely be approved.
"If they meet all the criteria in the official plan, they could apply for it and likely be successful," said Calvin Pol, planning director of North Dundas Township.
Yesterday, farmers in the area received wine and cheese baskets at their doors from Lafarge after CTV Ottawa started making calls for this story.
Lafarge said they were to apologize for the noise caused by the double shifts workers were pulling in recent days.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr