Public Engagement: May 25 Information Session

Demonstrating our commitment to keeping the community informed about the Aldershot East project, Meridian Brick welcomed neighbours to ask questions of scientific experts conducting studies on the site and to hear updates from Meridian Brick at a well-attended May 25 public meeting.

While about 100 people were expected to attend the Thursday evening meeting at the Crossroads Christian Communications building near the Tyandaga neighbourhood, instead about 170 turned up to hear information from subject matter experts and ask questions. Meridian Brick thanks those guests who assisted with moving chairs from the original venue to the large open hall outside, where everyone could be accommodated.

In that new, larger venue, residents asked a number of important questions and voiced strong views as part of the open exchange and dialogue.

Meridian Brick also announced a new setback plan, which will keep excavation further from residents’ homes. Excavation of the north corner of the Aldershot East site – the corner closest to the Tyandaga West neighbourhood – will not take place until late in the site’s life, in at least 15 to 20 years. This setback will ensure a fully treed interim buffer zone, to be in place for at least 15 years, of 90 to 150 metres.

“Meridian Brick has demonstrated that we’re being very cooperative and listening to your concerns,” said Rob Campolo, Area Operations Manager, who oversees Meridian Brick’s operations in Ontario and Quebec.

Meridian Brick has a long history in the community, with many of its employees working for the company for twenty years or longer. With three brick plants and four quarries in the city, Meridian Brick hopes to continue making brick in Burlington for years into the future. The Aldershot East excavation project will make that hope reality by providing years of new shale for Meridian Brick’s Aldershot and Burlington 2 plants.

“We need those resources to continue operating the plants,” Campolo told the audience. “This is very important to the future of the company, it’s important to the community, our families and it’s important to local vendors.”

Attendees joined in a two-and-a-half-hour session in which expert consultants in a variety of fields provided information on the Aldershot East project.

A dust and silica study, presented by Ajay Madan of consulting firm Pinchin, modeled the amount of dust in the air generated over five years, six to ten years, and 16 to 25 years. At all locations the study modeled, concentrations of dust were found to be below Provincial benchmarks. And a health assessment by Glenn Ferguson of Intrinsik, a member of the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s Toxicity Reference Value Expert Review Panel, found that the health effects caused by the East project will be “negligible.”

Madan said, “Anywhere it was applicable, we would take the most conservative assumptions. Our goal was that this study was a worst-case scenario.” Ultimately, even modeling for that worst-case scenario, dust, silica and health studies all showed that there will be minimal impact from the East development.

Residents also heard about Meridian Brick’s plans to preserve species at risk, including the Mottled Duskywing Butterfly, Eastern Flowering Dogwood and American Colombo, as well as Meridian Brick’s ongoing survey of the quarry site for salamanders. To date, studies have found no salamander species at risk on the quarry site. Meridian Brick continues to work with its team along with Conservation Halton to follow up reports of salamander species at risk in the area.

Lastly, Hazem Gidamy of SS Wilson Associates Consulting Engineers presented noise study findings, to ensure the Quarry project can proceed in a manner that is within regulatory limits and remains compatible with the neighbours. Throughout the evening, residents had the opportunity to present questions during three question-and-answer sessions. More than forty questions were taken, and Meridian Brick offered comment cards to attendees to give the opportunity to have their questions answered at a later time.

Another meeting will be held in the fall of 2017. Residents will be appraised of the date, time and location of the meeting as soon as possible. Meridian Brick thanks Crossroads Christian Communications for providing the venue for May’s event, and for their flexibility in accommodating an overflow crowd.

Meridian Brick also thanks all residents, neighbours and citizens who came out and engaged in the discussions. We hope to continue the dialogue with residents going forward and look forward to sharing information with the community again in the months ahead.