Assiginack resident denied lot severance due to non-operational, on-site quarry

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Will appeal ruling to Ontario Land Tribunal

GORE BAY—An Assiginack resident is appealing a decision made by the Manitoulin Planning Board (MPB) for a severance of property for the creation of a new lot, as the property is within a designated (non-operating) aggregate site, and under the provincial policy statement it does not support new sensitive uses like the development of a new lot within an aggregate resource area.

At an MPB meeting last week, secretary-treasurer Theresa Carlisle told the board, “Dene Banger has made an appeal (to the Ontario Land Tribunal) on a decision made by the board on an application he (and Frances Boegli) made to the board. This will now go in front of a tribunal.”

The application made under section 53(1) of the Planning Act was to provide for the creation of a new lot on Bidwell Road, a maintained township road. The proposed new lot land has been designated rural area and zoned agricultural. However, there is a licenced aggregate site located to the southwest within lot 1.

In a letter from MPB to Mr. Banger previously it was explained, ‘’in review of your application for consent to sever, re: the above location, there is a licenced aggregate resource site identified to the south of the subject land, on the south side of Bidwell Road. As per the Ministry of the Environment (now the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks [MECP]), the D-series guidelines require a minimum setback of 300 metres from the aggregate site for a new residential (sensitive) use.”

“The subject land is entirely within the 300 metres buffer,” the MPB letter noted. “Policies of our Official Plan for the District of Manitoulin and the Provincial Policy Statement 2020 do not support new sensitive uses within an aggregate resource area. If the licence is rescinded, or if a report can be obtained supporting the new residential use, there may be a possibility to process with an application to sever.”

At the MPB May and June meetings pending comments from the municipality, Alton Hobbs, CAO of Assiginack informed the MPB in July council opted to have the planning board make its decision and then the township would evaluate its next steps.

At the July MPB meeting Ms. Carlisle informed the board that she had confirmed the property containing the licenced aggregate site has been listed for sale with the description that there is a licenced quarry on the property. She explained that as the MPB is the approval authority for the consent to sever application, they are required to make a decision under the Planning Act in conformity with the Official Plan and the provincial policy statement.

“This application has been before us twice previously,” said Lee Hayden, MPB chair. “The quarry is the question. Under the act we are not supposed to approve this as is.”

Board member Doug Head had missed the June board meeting. But he indicated board member “Ken Noland was extremely opposed to this application being approved. I consulted a couple of people who have knowledge on this issue and they both said that we should let Mr. Banger appeal to the province on this.”

“The aggregate licence is provincial,” said Rob Brown. “Someone has to ask the province. Why not go to the root cause? I think you should go to the ministry to voice your concerns with policies and see what they come up with.”

“I’d like to see the gentleman be able to go ahead, but I don’t think we can approve the application,” said Mr. Head.

Board member Dave McDowell said “it is like the chicken and the egg situation. There needs to be a mechanism in place to clear up this type of situation. This isn’t a crushing pit on this property, but it has the same rules as a big pit. We want to support and help him, but the problem is that rules are in place, mostly for southern Ontario. I can understand why we would have to turn down the application, but there is still the need to find a mechanism in place to find a solution, from the province.” 

The board was informed that the municipality of Assiginack currently has eight aggregate licences, one is class A (operating) while the rest are class B (non-operating) and it is affecting many farms in the municipality.

“There are 68 current aggregate licences on Manitoulin Island,” said Mr. Banger. How many are not being operated and not being developed on, he questioned.

“I figure it would be best that we say no to this application,” said Mr. Head. “And for you, Mr. Banger, to appeal to the ministry. I would like to help you but if you take this to the province it may help.”

Mr. Brown said the MPB has to follow the provincial policy statement.

The MPB turned down the severance application request.

Mr. Banger said, “I will be appealing the decision, it probably won’t do any good but I am looking for answers.”

“It will probably be a landmark decision that will affect many others,” said Mr. Brown. “Meanwhile it has already cost me $90,000 in loss of sale of the property.”