Walker Industries consults community about proposed quarry
Walker Industries is proposing to develop a new quarry in rural Niagara Falls to meet demand fueled by fast-paced growth in the Niagara Region.
The proposed Upper's Lane Quarry would supply high-quality limestone aggregates for critical infrastructure, construction and community development projects across the region.
The quarry would be developed on a 266-acre piece of land owned by Walker between Thorold Townline Road and Beechwood Road, south of Beaverdams Road.
"There will be many opportunities for residents and community stakeholders to gather information about the project and have a say in how it's developed over the coming months," says Ken Lucyshyn, Executive Vice President of Aggregates and Construction for Walker Industries. "We want to create a quarry that works for everyone."
Walker hasn't yet started the formal application process to gain the required approvals for the quarry. However, they have voluntarily begun a consultation process with the local community and surrounding property owners.
Public information sessions were held on November 27 and 28 for residents living near the proposed quarry. These sessions were intended to identify community concerns early in the planning process so they can be addressed as the proposal moves forward. Additional public information sessions will be held.
"We believe in transparency and keeping our neighbours and the Niagara community informed of our activities and decisions," says Kevin Kehl, Project Manager for Walker. "By hearing what residents think, we are able to understand what is important to our neighbours and our community, and work together to find solutions."
The planning process to support the project is expected to take approximately five years. If a license is granted, site preparation and the start of operations could take an additional five years.
A website dedicated to the project - uppersquarry.ca - provides background about the proposal and the development process. It also enables members of the community to provide direct feedback, and subscribe to receive updates on the progress of the proposal.
Studies conducted by the Province indicate the Niagara Falls site owned by Walker contains a large supply of superior quality aggregates that can be easily accessed and transported. There was concern by the Province that this vital resource could become inaccessible, if the land were to be used for residential development or other purposes.
It's estimated the proposed quarry has capacity for 30 to 50 years, depending on market conditions. All of the stone from the site would be used for local infrastructure and construction projects in Niagara.
Locating quarries close to the market where the aggregates will be used helps minimize environmental impacts, such as greenhouse gases and carbon emissions from truck travel. Proximity also reduces transportation costs, which benefits taxpayers who indirectly support infrastructure development. It is estimated that approximately 65% of aggregates in Ontario are used in public sector infrastructure projects paid for with tax dollars.
Walker operates 12 aggregate quarries across Ontario, including four in Niagara. Two of the Niagara quarries - Vineland and Walker Brothers - are expected to be phased out over the next 10 years. The proposed Niagara Falls quarry would replace the Walker Brothers Quarry and enable Walker to continue to meet local demand for stone.