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Canadian Mega-Quarry Stopped

The saga of the Canadian Mega-Quarry is over. The application to build a massive quarry in Melancthon Township near Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, has been withdrawn.

The Highland Companies, which had planned the quarry, also intends to discontinue its efforts to restore the rail corridor through Dufferin County. In addition, Highland announced that John Lowndes has resigned from his role as president and has no further involvement with the company.

“While we believe that the quarry would have brought significant economic benefit to Melancthon Township and served Ontario’s well-documented need for aggregate, we acknowledge that the application does not have sufficient support from the community and government to justify proceeding with the approval process,” said John Scherer of The Highland Companies.

Highland said it will continue to focus on its farms and on supplying its customers with high quality potatoes and other crops. The company is proud of the improvements it has made through modernizing equipment and storage facilities as well as enhancing food and worker safety.

The Ontario government ordered an environmental assessment of the project last September, which the province had previously not stipulated as a prerequisite for the development of quarries, according to CBC News.

“We would have preferred maybe a regulatory environment that did not change midway through the process,” said Scherer in an interview with CBC News. Other business factors also factored into the decision to not pursue the application, he said.

The scope of the project, which would have been developed on prime farmland owned by the company near Orangeville, northwest of Toronto, earned it the moniker “mega-quarry.” It would have spanned 937 hectares – about one-third the size of downtown Toronto – and create a crater 1½ times as deep as Niagara Falls.

Those opposed to the project were concerned about losing a massive swath of rich farmland and worried about the quarry’s effect on the water table.

The company had said the limestone quarry would have provided an essential supply of aggregate, used to build everything from homes to roads. But the proposal was met with fierce opposition from the community and beyond.

The Highland Companies consists of a group of private investors in the U.S. and Canada and is involved in farming and aggregates, including a large potato farming operation.