OMB/LPAT/ERT/OLT decisions and outcomes
In September 2004, Lowndes Holdings Corp., an Ontario company owned by Robert and David Lowndes filed
for Official Plan and Zoning Amendments with the City of Hamilton to begin the process of establishing a
limestone quarry on 380+ acres of land in Flamborough just north of Carlisle. In 2006 they sold the company
to St. Mary’s Cement/CBM, a US-based branch of a Brazilian owned company. In January 2009 St. Mary’s
applied under the Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) for a quarry licence (awareontario.com)
In April 2010, then Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Jim Bradley, invoked what was rare at that time,
a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) to prevent the planned quarrying of aggregate to make concrete. It is believed
that has only happened three times before. Still, St. Mary’s appealed that decision to the Ontario Municipal
Environmental Defence Canada and Flamborough’s FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities and the
Environment) were two community groups trying to convince the OMB that safe drinking water was more
important than a new source of crushed construction stone for the GTA. Other concerns cited by objectors to
the quarry included the proposed size and depth of proposed excavation, the protection of environmentally
sensitive areas, and truck traffic in the area (stopthequarry.com).
The groups adopted a professional, substantive, science-based approach, learned the ‘rules of the game’ for
the approvals processes, built community and stakeholder consensus, worked with and gained alignment with
the staff and elected representatives of all the relevant municipal and provincial governments, and secured
support from their local and area members from all the major political parties. FORCE also published a fullpage advertisement in the Hamilton Spectator and its community members sent in more than 1200 objection
letters calling on the province to stop the quarry without further study or debate (stopthequarry.com).
Following a nine-year battle, in March 2013 it was decided by the Ontario government that a conservation
easement will be placed on title to ensure that no quarry will be built on these lands and that the province
maintains its conservation purposes for the future. As a result, St. Mary’s and the province agreed to
withdraw current and future litigation (B. Patterson). This agreement placed a Conservation Covenant on all
the proposed quarry lands and prohibits any aggregate extraction on those lands as well as anything that will
materially affect the quantity or quality of water flowing over or under the lands. A large portion of those lands
will also be designated as a “Protected Area” (stopthequarry.com).
“After reviewing the details of the agreement between the Ontario Provincial Government and St. Mary’s
Cement our communities can finally rest easy. We can now be assured that our drinking water, natural
environment, homes, farms, schools and businesses – the things our communities have been fighting for – are
no longer at risk,” said a spokesperson for the community (stopthequarry.com). “Without each of us remaining
committed to protecting our families, homes and businesses, this outcome would not have been possible.
We decided early on that a professional and substantive engagement from our communities was going to be
required. We invested together as a community to make that happen… If our communities had not taken up
the fight the outcome would have been very different,” (stopthequarry.com).