Question and Answers


Q: I heard the quarry has submitted a proposal for a new Environmental Compliance Approval to release industrial materials, or “industrial sewage” into Indian Creek.

A: Meridian has applied for an E.C.A. for stormwater ponds designed to control the quality of stormwater runoff (unfortunately called Sewage in the Act). The quarry excavations accumulate precipitation, which absorbs shale. State-of-the-art batch treatment settling ponds are used to remove the shale before the treated quarry water is released. The material to be treated comes from stormwater and is not industrial sewage.

Q: Where can I learn more about the project and the status of reports on the Aldershot Quarry?

A: The completed reports are posted at The reports include air quality studies, noise, human health, two archaeology surveys and updates to salamander studies, as well as the site plan.

Q: Have the studies raised any red flags or issues so far?

A: No. Meridian Brick continues to conduct some follow-up studies, including a Stage 3 archaeological assessment. If any other issues do arise from these studies, Meridian will take every action to ensure the concern is properly mitigated.


Q: What is Meridian Brick, what does it make and how many people does the company employ?

A: Meridian Brick’s Canadian operations based in Burlington, Ontario, was formerly known as Canada Brick, then Hanson Brick and Forterra. Meridian produces more than half of the clay brick in Canada ‑ the largest such producer in the country. It has been in operation for almost 60 years.  Current operations include three clay brick plants and four quarries in Burlington, and employs about 170 people. The Aldershot Quarry itself excavates the Provincially significant Queenston shale, from which clay bricks are made.

Q: What is Meridian Brick’s economic impact to the Burlington area and GTA?

A: Meridian Brick’s economic impact is significant. Its local investment alone is worth more than $150 million, with $5 million each year flowing to neighbourhood businesses in purchased services and materials, $3.5 million to Burlington Hydro and $1.35 million per year paid in local taxes. The quarry East Cell project will allow Meridian’s initial investment to continue in Burlington and maintain about 85 good-paying jobs.

Q: Has Meridian contributed to the community in other ways?

A: Meridian has been an active supporter of its community and GTA. Among a number of initiatives, it has supplied brick for more than 140 Habitat for Humanity homes in the GTA which are built in collaboration with families in need of housing. Meridian has also raised funds for Bolus Gardens Parkette in Warwick Surrey, and at Meridian’s Tansley Quarry, the company has built a pumping station, communal reservoir and pipeline network to provide neighbours with municipal-quality water, at no cost.


Q: What is the brief history of the quarry?

A: The quarrying operations began in the 1920’s, at least 70 years before the Tyandaga West subdivision was registered. In 1990, Canada Brick acquired the quarries to provide Queenston shale for a new brick plant. By 2000, Canada Brick —now Meridian— invested $57 million in a new brick plant dependent on long-term reserves of shale being available in the area, including the quarry’s West, Centre and East cells (or Quarry sections).

The West cell has just three to five years left and the Centre cell six to eight years left. With the west and centre cells now almost depleted, Aldershot East needs to be developed to keep the brick plant open. The East cell has the largest remaining reserve of shale, containing an estimated 38% of the shale in the entire Aldershot Quarry Complex

Q: Is Meridian Brick certain that there is high-quality shale in the East cell?

A: Yes. Before Meridian Brick purchased the Aldershot Quarry, boreholes were taken from across the three sites. The shale cores were tested for chemical and mineralogical composition and small brick were processed and fired in laboratory kilns. Then truckloads of shale were excavated from the West, Centre and East Quarries for the production of sample runs of full-size clay brick. These bricks were analyzed according to industry standards for a number of criteria, including hardness and durability. The analyses confirmed that the shale within the quarry is the kind of high-quality shale necessary for the Aldershot Brick Plant.

Q: What was the previous status with the nearby Tyandaga subdivision and the quarry?

A: Houses along Westhaven Drive began to be erected in the Tyandaga subdivision in 1999, after dust and noise studies were undertaken and approved by city and provincial authorities. Canada Brick voluntarily agreed to put in controls to allow the subdivision to be compatible with the quarry. These controls included a berm along part of the East Quarry boundary and site plan amendments to specify a dust control, monitoring and reporting protocol.  A warning clause was registered on the title of the subdivision lots by the developer.

Q: Does the quarry meet full regulatory compliance?

A: Yes. It has been properly licensed since 1972.This includes a revised Site Plan, with that plan amended to include the Tyandaga West protection measures, referred to above, and evolving Provincial standards. Operations are governed by, and compliant with provincial and regulatory standards that include the Endangered Species Act, Environmental Protection Act; 2017 Greenbelt Plan; Ontario Heritage Act; Ontario Water Resources Act and the Provincial Policy Statement of 2014. Meridian Brick operates the Aldershot Quarries in compliance within this strict regulatory framework.

Q: What are examples of how Meridian has responded to community concerns about the quarry and its east development?

A: As soon as it had recognized the need to operate the East Quarry, Company officials informed the City and held a public information meeting, in its Aldershot plant office, in September 2015. Several concerns were expressed by neighbours. Meridian then commissioned a series of studies, including noise, air quality, human health and salamanders in direct response to community concern.

Meridian Brick also plans to phase in the tree removal on site in 6 stages, with the last stage (15 – 20 years from now) being closest to the neighbouring properties. At the same time, progressive rehabilitation and reforestation of the West and Centre cells will be carried out, so that soil from one area can be used to rehabilitate the previously-worked area. By the time the project is completed, some of the 25,000-plus trees planted will be almost 30 years old.

Comprehensive and interactive community meetings have already been held on May 25 and Nov. 29, 2017. Studies are publicly posted on this site.


Q: How close to our fencelines will this quarry come?

A: Meridian has agreed not to excavate the north corner of the East site closest to the neighbours until late in the site’s lifespan, at least 15 to 20 years from now. Until that time, this setback will ensure approximately 150 metres between neighbours fencelines and the quarry, an increase from 39 metres. Even when the third phase of the East quarry is being undertaken 15 – 20 years from now the excavation will remain 55 metres away from the neighbours’ fencelines and behind a 5-metre berm for added noise protection.

Q: Will we have to worry about dust from the quarry?

A: No. Meridian commissioned new air quality monitoring and modeling studies that were uploaded to this web site at the end of 2017. The results have confirmed that particulate and silica concentrations from Meridian sources and background sources including Highway 403 and the QEW are predicted to be less than accepted health-based benchmarks, even under worst-case conditions. As well, during field-testing from Meridian sources, silica was undetectable using state-of-the-art detection instruments.  Once quarrying operations begin, a dust monitoring program specific to the East site will be implemented and results from this program made available to the City of Burlington, Region of Halton, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry upon request. Westhaven Drive residents will also have access to the information. If the dust exceeds regulatory limits, mitigation measures will be put in place to reduce the concentrations to below Ministry requirements.

Q: Will there be a disruptive level of noise coming from the East quarry cell?

A: Disruptive noise levels have been deemed highly unlikely. Neighbours advised that the high frequency reversing beepers were annoying. Immediately following the September 2015 meeting, the Company replaced the quarry equipment beepers with a new, “white noise” version.

At the time the Tyandaga West subdivision was developed, the developer commissioned SS Wilson Associates Consulting Engineers to conduct a noise study. Following a review by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Wilson’s final report was issued in October 1998. In response to community concerns, Meridian retained the company in 2015 to conduct a new, updated noise study based on current noise standards. This investigation found that the operations will achieve Provincial noise standards, with predicted sound levels to be in compliance with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s applicable sound level criteria. Wilson recommended a southerly extension of the five-metre-high Stage 3 berm along the east boundary of Stage 2, for increased protection.

Q: Won’t the blasting and drilling damage the foundations of our homes?

A: No. There is no drilling or blasting on the site, and there never will be. The exposed shale softens through a process of natural weathering. It is simply pushed down the excavation slopes with a bulldozer to a stockpile area on the quarry floor.

Q: What about trees that will be removed?

A: Trees have to be removed to allow for the quarry work to continue, but there will be no clear-cutting. The trees will be removed in six phases of about 1.8 hectares each. At the same time, the quarries will also be progressively rehabilitated and reforested. This means there will be 30-year-old trees and shrubs, from the first rehabilitation phase, by the time the last phase takes place.

Q: How much of the tree cover will be taken away, and will it be removed all at once?

A: In the first five years, Meridian Brick will only remove trees from a small access area into the East Quarry cell. By the second phase (years 5 – 15 or 20), about half of the trees will be removed, but a 150-metre buffer will remain between neighbour’s fencelines and the quarry. As Meridian Brick progresses into the quarry, however, those trees will be removed as required, while at the same time progressively replanted as the project moves forward until the East site is eventually restored to a fully forested landscape.

Q: Will removing the treed buffer cause worse rates of dust and silica exposure for the neighbourhood?

A: No, because the dust and silica study don’t account for the trees being there in the first place. Not only that, there will be a buffer of approximately 150 metres left in place for the first 15 to 20 years of the project. Even as Meridian Brick moves into Phase 3 of the East cell extraction, a buffer of 55 metres will remain, along with the existing five-metre-high berm. These protections go above and beyond requirements and provide an extra layer of buffering against dust dispersion.

Q: Will Meridian Brick rehabilitate the existing Aldershot Centre cell before excavating the East cell?

A: Our progressive rehabilitation plan incorporates gradual rehabilitation of the Centre cell as excavation of East begins. With every step Meridian Brick moves into the East cell, material will be brought back and used to progressively rehabilitate the Centre cell.

Q: What is Meridian Brick doing to protect the ecologically significant American Columbo areas on site where this endangered species is found?

A: Meridian Brick has committed to preserving the communities of American Columbo found within the site. The American Columbo will be preserved in place, and a buffer will remain around each community to ensure that they are not disturbed.

Q: Is Meridian Brick doing anything about the invasive garlic mustard covering portions of the berm?

A: Meridian Brick is seeking the input of our professional team with respect to managing garlic mustard on the site.  Since the berm was built and hydroseeded, the garlic mustard appears to have migrated from the City’s open space to the easterly side of the existing berm.

Q: Is it true that Meridian Brick was ordered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to stop the project because of endangered salamanders?

A: False. Meridian Brick has received no such order from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. However, Meridian Brick is taking reports from neighbours of endangered salamanders in the area seriously. Meridian Brick has engaged a team of ecologists and salamander experts to conduct ongoing studies, surveying all potential salamander habitat within the East Quarry and in the adjacent City open space. To date, no endangered salamanders have been identified. Meridian’s experts have also concluded that the area for the first phase of excavation for the East cell is not suitable habitat for endangered salamanders – Allegheny Mountain or Northern Dusky Salamander, or Jefferson Salamander and Jefferson-dependent unisexual ambystoma salamander species.

Q: Does this quarry threaten endangered salamander species?

A: To date, no endangered salamander species have been found in the quarry site. Meridian contracted Goodban Ecological Consulting, in partnership with Gray Owl Environmental, Anais Boutin, an authority on Dusky Salamanders in Canada, and Dr. Jim Bogart, formerly of the University of Guelph, to conduct a series of salamander surveys. The survey team has not observed any species at risk – ie. Allegheny Mountain or Northern Dusky Salamander or Jefferson Salamander. However, they reported that part of the quarry site may be suitable for the Dusky Salamander. Further surveys will be undertaken throughout 2018. Meridian’s experts have, however ,concluded that the area for the first phase of excavation for the East cell is unsuitable habitat for the endangered salamander species.

Q: What about air quality, silica and related human health concerns and the forthcoming Aldershot East extraction?

A:  When the Westhaven subdivision was developed, a dust assessment study found no health risk to the neighbourhood, with dust levels below the province’s air quality standards based on an extraction rate double what Meridian is doing now. The current study is based on a similar rate of production.

Meridian has conducted and updated dust and toxicology studies, with recent results showing silica and particulate concentrations predicted to be far below health benchmarks, with health risks expected to be negligible.

When new quarrying actually begins on the East site, a dust-monitoring program will begin, with results made available to multiple government authorities upon request.

Q: What about archaeological study assessments, particularly as they relate to First Nations concerns about what might be found underground?

A: The archeology studies have identified a small area where 6 flakes of chert were found. The Stage 2 archaeological survey indicates that this “likely represents a single, brief tool repair event.” The site is estimated to be about one metre by five metres in size.

On April 24, 2018 ASI Archaeological & Cultural Heritage Services completed Stage 3 archeology and fieldwork at the Aldershot Quarry East site. Thirteen one-metre square test units recovered 4 flakes of Onondaga or Lockport Formation chert, all in the immediate vicinity of the original finds. These flakes are being processed and analyzed in ASI’s Burlington office. Preliminary results suggest the site would not meet the criteria typically employed to recommend such a site for Stage 4 mitigation.

Representatives of the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation were present on site. First Nation monitors expressed no concerns or objections to ASI recommendations or findings. Recommendations are subject to review by MTCS.


Detailed Environmental Noise Study

Q: What was the purpose of the most recent study?

A: Released December 22, 2017, its purpose was to study noise levels during the excavation of shale from the East Quarry.

Q: What were the study’s parameters?

A: The study included environmental noise generated by operations and the potential worst-case effects on nearby noise-sensitive land uses. It was also to recommend appropriate noise control measures; if deemed necessary, in accordance with the applicable governmental sound level criteria.

Q: What were the most recent study’s overall noise findings?

A.1:  In a voluntary assessment for tree removal and earth excavation, defined as “construction” noise, it was predicted operations would not exceed recommended best management practices during the life of the East Quarry.

A.2: S. S. Wilson predicts that shale-handling operations will achieve the applicable sound level criteria and be in compliance with the strictest criteria of the provincial Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (exclusion limits) without the extension of the east berm.

A.3: S. S. Wilson recommended that Meridian Brick follow best-management practices, and that the east berm be extended southerly along the boundary of Stage 2 at a height of five metres.

Q: What does the study have to say overall, about initiating operations on the east quarry and sound issues?

A: With the application of recommended noise-control measures, those operations – previously approved by the Ministry of the Environment for shale extraction — will result in acceptable sound levels that are at or below Provincial sound-level criteria.

Q: What were the noise details based on?

A: Typical work cases for documented noise levels from construction and shale equipment operation. These cases are considered as typical worst-case scenarios due to distance, operational times of the various operational equipment, directivity of the sound sources, exposure and barrier attenuation.

Q: What did the study include as part of construction noise?

A: It was assessed differently than the shale extraction and removal operation, and includes noise generated due to a variety of activities on the quarry site, including cutting, removal and processing of trees and the excavation of topsoil and overburden to reach the top of the shale deposit. Currently, the potential for noise emissions due to rehabilitation of the site was expected to be negligible and not addressed by the study.

Air Quality and Human Health Risk Assessment

Q: Do Meridian Brick’s dust studies account for increased levels of background particulate in the air as the City of Burlington grows?

A: The actual data utilized for the dust and silica studies is based on data available from the MOECC for the City of Burlington, modeled based on an existing busy area – the monitoring area. The studies are based on worst-case scenarios.  However, the trend for combustion is likely to decline over the next 25 years as cars and factories reduce their emissions.

Q: What happens if Meridian Brick’s ongoing monitoring discovers that the extraction project is exceeding regulatory limits of dust and silica?

A: Meridian Brick would have to scale down operations or introduce effective remedial measures, in order to remain within regulatory limits. A mitigation plan may be developed and implemented by the company in order to stay within the thresholds set by the Province of Ontario.

Q: According to the SDS safety sheet for clay brick, there are negative health effects associated with unprotected exposure to brick dust in the workplace. Does this pose a risk to homeowners?

A: No. SDS safety sheets cover occupational exposures, within the brick plant, under the most extreme circumstances – for example, a worker working in an enclosed space with no protective equipment. Neighbours living half the length of a football field away from the site, as Westhaven Drive residents will be even during the closest point of the excavation, will not experience anything like the kind of exposures levels identified in the SDS safety sheet.

Q: Do Meridian Brick’s studies conclusively show that there are no long-term ill effects on residents’ health caused by this project?

A: The benchmarks which underlie the dust, silica and human health studies are based on long-term exposure, including for asthmatics and children. Both of these studies determined that dust and silica levels – even when measured based on double the amount of shale Meridian Brick currently extracts – will be well below regulatory benchmarks. Both studies have found that the cumulative health risks to residents at all study locations are negligible, even when background sources of dust and silica are taken into account.

Air Quality Assessment

Q: What is the purpose of this report?

A: It documents the expected emissions from the quarry facility, and was completed voluntarily as part of the company’s internal environmental initiatives and in response to neighbours’ concerns. It was prepared in accordance with O.Reg.419/05 and the “Procedure for Preparing an Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling Report”, published by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in February 2017.

Q: What does the report include?

A: All potential particulate sources and their compositions have been identified and assessed for significance, with those deemed insignificant explained as such, and also tabulated.

Q: How was it done and what were the airborne emissions analyzed?

A: The processes include excavation, stockpiling, truck loading, material delivery, road dust – on-site and on King Road from the facility entrance to the North Service Road and wind erosion from stockpiles. The airborne emissions assessed from the facility were crystalline silica and particulate matter; specifically respirable, inhalable and total particulate matter.

Q: What did it cover?

A: The assessment captured operation at the Centre and future East Quarry. Three scenarios were considered for the assessment, based on three time periods, a one to five-year scenario, with the Centre Quarry only, a six–to-15-year scenario involving the Centre and East Quarries, and a 16–to-25 -year scenario affecting the East Quarry only.  Dust levels were modeled at 35 human activity locations within 1 kilometre of the quarries.

Q: And its overall findings?

A: The maximum results indicate that the facility emissions result in maximum POI (point of impingement) concentrations that are below the regulatory benchmarks. A point of impingement is the point at which a given substance contacts the ground or a building. The study found that the combined concentrations are below the Ontario Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) benchmarks, when also factoring in non-quarry-related background concentrations like bad-air. The results of an Ambient Air Quality Program were found to be below the benchmarks.

Screening-Level Human Health Risk Assessment

 Q: What prompted the report and what did it set out to study?

A: Intrinsik was retained by Meridian to address the concerns of local residents about the potential exposure to breathable dust and silica, due to airborne emissions caused by shale extraction. It determined the worst-case health implications of emissions for potentially sensitive people living, working, or playing in the surrounding community and arising from various current and future extraction processes at the quarry. Based on information provided in an Air Quality Study, it also evaluates a cumulative air-emissions model in the area, from both the quarry and existing background emissions.

Q: What is the difference between this report, and the Pinchin air quality assessment report?

A: The Human Health Assessment was completed, by Intrinsik’s Dr. Glenn Ferguson, Ph.D., to expand on the requirements of the Local Air Quality Regulations that does not consider cumulative or background air quality with respect to emissions from a facility. The current health risk-assessment was done according to widely-accepted risk-assessment methods endorsed by senior government regulatory agencies, including Canadian, provincial and U.S governments. Dovetailing with the Air Quality Study done by Pinchin and also released in December, ground-level air concentrations were predicted using air-dispersion modelling at various locations where people spend time, all within about a 1,000-metre radius from the quarry.

Q: What was the research focus?

A: The contaminants of concern to be assessed were crystalline silica, respirable particulate matter and fine particulate matter. The locations evaluated included adjacent land surrounding the quarry that includes residential homes to the northeast, a school to the southeast, a gun club and model airplane club in a park to the southwest.

Q: How was the research done?

A: A Screening Level Human Health Risk Assessment (SLHHRA) was used to evaluate the potential impacts of projected increases in ambient – or area – concentrations of various particulate elements from quarry operations, as well as a cumulative risk, based on the overall contribution of the quarry to the existing background concentrations within the area’s airshed (the area in which the air is usually confined or channeled)

Q: What were the results and conclusions about long-term air quality?

A: Emissions of particulate matter from Meridian quarrying-related sources represents a small fraction of the overall cumulative air particulate concentration. These concentrations from Meridian sources are predicted to be significantly less than both acute (immediate, short-term) and chronic (long-term) health-based benchmarks — even under worse-case conditions.

Q: What was the Human Health Risk Assessment bottom line?

A: Dr. Ferguson concluded that estimated emissions from Meridian operations represent a minimal to negligible component of the overall cumulative exposures for each of the elements of concern evaluated around the quarry site.

Archaeological Surveys

Q: What was the Stage 1 Archaeological Survey looking for?

A: Meridian acknowledged its obligations, under Provincial legislation, to report any finding of archaeological resources or human remains. Rather than leaving this to chance, Meridian Brick undertook a detailed archaeological assessment of the property. Meridian retained Archaeological Services Inc.(ASI) to conduct the assessments prescribed in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s (MTCS’s) Standards and Guidelines for Consulting Archaeologists. 

In its Stage 1 assessment, ASI considered the proximity of previously-registered archaeological sites and the original environmental setting of the property, along with nineteenth and twentieth-century settlement trends to determine if artifacts may be present on the site.

Q: What did this survey background assessment find?

A: The Stage 1 background assessment determined that one archaeological site has been registered within a one-kilometre radius of the subject property. The Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment determined that the subject property contained the potential for encountering archaeological resources, both historical Euro-Canadian and pre-contact Indigenous. As of the date of this first report, no archaeological sites had been registered within the limits or within close proximity of the subject Meridian Brick quarry property.

Q: What did ASI recommend in its Stage 1 report?

A: Prior to any land-disturbing activities within the subject property, a Stage 2 Archaeological Assessment should be conducted and carried out within the subject property by means of a five-by-five-metre test pit survey grid which provides methodical excavations, along with soil screening.

Q: What did Stage 2 Archaeological Survey involve?

A: The Stage 2 Archaeological Assessment was conducted in 2017 by means of a test pit survey in areas deemed to have archaeological potential. Survey intervals were conducted primarily at five metres, but judgemental survey intervals were done in the valley lands where low and wet conditions were encountered. Intensification of the test pit survey at intervals of 2.5 metres and the excavation of a one-metre-square test unit were also employed in one location where Indigenous material was recovered. This assessment resulted in the identification of a pre-contact Indigenous site.

Q: What was found?

A: The artifact assemblage consists of six pre-contact Indigenous lithic artifacts relating to stone tools, including two primary reduction flakes, three secondary knapping flakes, and one flake fragment. All of the artifacts are of Onondaga chert (fine-grained sedimentary rock).

Q: What happens now?

A: A comprehensive Stage 3 Archaeological Assessment will be conducted to more fully identify the character, extent, and significance of that archaeological deposit.

Q: When will it happen, and what will be the Indigenous involvement?

A: The archaeological consultant (ASI) has been authorized to carry out Stage 3 test excavation in the spring of 2018. In accordance with the provincial technical bulletin Engaging Aboriginal Communities in Archaeology, dialogue has been initiated with the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations. Monitors from these First Nations will participate in the Stage 3 test excavation on the site, at Meridian’s expense. Prior to the Stage 3, ASI will consult with Plan B Natural Heritage consultant to ensure there will be no damage to the New Jersey Tea plants. The results of the Stage 3 excavation will be used to determine if further Stage 4 mitigation is warranted.

Q: Stage 3 test excavation update

On April 24, 2018 ASI Archaeological & Cultural Heritage Services completed Stage 3 archeology and fieldwork at the Aldershot Quarry East site. Thirteen one-metre square test units recovered 4 flakes of Onondaga or Lockport Formation chert, all in the immediate vicinity of the original finds. These flakes are being processed and analyzed in ASI’s Burlington office. Preliminary results suggest the site would not meet the criteria typically employed to recommend such a site for Stage 4 mitigation.

Representatives of the Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation were present on site. First Nation monitors expressed no concerns or objections to ASI recommendations or findings. Recommendations are subject to review by MTCS.

Q: Is all relevant legislation relating to the excavation and artifacts being adhered to?

A: Yes, to the letter and they will continue to be followed, including requirements under the Ontario Heritage Act, all legal approval authorities, and the Cultural Programs Unit of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, with participation as required from relevant First Nations stakeholders.


Salamander Study

Q: What prompted Meridian Brick to conduct the Salamander Study?

A: Neighbours in 2016 raised concerns about the potential for Species at Risk salamanders to occur in the area. In 2016 Meridian Brick retained Anthony Goodban of Goodban Ecological Consulting Inc. (GEC) to complete a detailed salamander survey for the East Quarry property and the adjacent City-owned open space. GEC brought together a team of salamander experts to work collaboratively on this project. The team wants to find Species at Risk salamanders if they occur on the quarry property. So far, four detailed surveys were completed in November 2016, April and June 2017. Conditions were too dry in the summer and fall of 2017 for salamander surveys, so three further surveys are planned for April and June 2018. The expert team has confirmed that the first phase of excavation of the east cell is not in an area with a habitat conducive to at-risk salamanders.

Q: What has the Salamander Study found to date?

A: No species at risk have been found, following the first two rounds of surveys. The Allegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander and the Northern Dusky Salamander are both endangered in Ontario and both are known only from the Niagara Gorge. They are closely associated with headwater stream habitats and also known as stream salamanders. Eggs are laid under streamside debris and larvae are aquatic. So far, no Dusky Salamanders have been observed to date. Virtually all rocks and debris in the headwater tributary were checked during each survey. The Jefferson Salamander and related Jefferson Dependent Ambystoma Unisexuals are known to occur north of the quarry property. Both are endangered in Ontario. None have been found to date on the site.  Vernal pools provide breeding habitat. Spotted Salamanders also live in this general area; they are not at risk.

Q: When will the Salamander Study be complete?

A: detailed report on the salamander study will be prepared later in the summer of 2018.

Species at Risk Update

Q: What has happened so far?

A: An initial background screening and contact with the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry was completed in 2012. In-season species at risk surveys were completed in 2013 and included plants, breeding birds and butternut. Species at risk identified on the property include: Eastern Flowering Dogwood (a small Carolinian tree), American Columbo, (a herbaceous plant), and Mottled Duskywing (a butterfly). Forests in the property also provided potential habitat for four species of endangered bat.

Q: Is there a species at risk management plan to follow as the quarry is further developed?

A: Absolutely. A number of strategies are being undertaken to mitigate effects on species at risk, including protection of those existing endangered plants using measures such as quarry set-backs, habitat management areas, butterfly restoration areas and plans, and special bat houses in setback areas. There will be appropriate annual monitoring, and adjustments to the plan, for the life of the East Quarry, as required protecting the species at risk.

The dexcavation area of the East Quarry has been reduced by 2.4 hectares in order to enable the creation of habitat management areas.


Q: I am a Grade 4 student at St. Elizabeth Seton School in Burlington, we have a question for you. We are researching a Science project about mining. We are wondering what are you going to do with the wood from the trees that are cut down in the East Expansion of your quarry? 

A: The branches and leaves will most probably be used to make mulch for top dressing flower beds, small trees will be used for firewood and the larger trees used to make planks. At this stage no decision has been made regarding the wood. It will depend on the contractor who is employed to do the cutting.