The City of Guelph has announced that they’ve wrapped up their nine-week run of public engagement on the proposed deal to close the Dolime Quarry, bring the land into the City of Guelph, and redevelop the area. Staff will now comb over the details of the feedback, and get a report ready to bring back to council sometime in the new year.
“We know that Guelph residents and businesses expect to be consulted about the decisions that stand to affect them. It was important to us from the beginning that we bring this proposal to our community so people could learn, ask questions, and provide feedback,” said Jennifer Rose, General Manager of Environmental Services for the City in a media release.
“We’re very happy to see so much public interest in this proposal. We know this has been a subject of interest in our community for many years,” Rose added. “Now community feedback will form part of Council’s considerations as it makes a decision.”
By the numbers, over 230 people participated in two formal open houses and four pop-up events. In addition, 88 surveys were answered in-person and online, and 16 questions submitted online. There were also over 2,200 unique web page visits and over 7,200 video views on the City’s website, plus over 110,000 impressions, 1,800 engagements, and 47 comments submitted through social media. This includes members of the Guelph-Eramosa community, who were also engaged in the process.
The community engagement potion called “Our Community, Our Water,” was the first phase of the plan, and the results will now by compiled into a report that will come back to council sometime in March 2020. At that point, council will be asked to consider the technical aspects of the project including water, financial, technical and planning angles, as they decide whether the City should officially pursue this option for the Dolime Quarry.
It was back in October when the City of Guelph announced that they had reached a tentative deal with River Valley Developments, the owners of the Dolime property, to close the quarry, fold it into the borders of the City, and then remediate and rezone the land into some kind of mixed-use or residential development.
The primary desire for the City in acquiring this land, and closing the quarry, is to protect ground water. In 2008, it was reported that the quarry had managed to break through to the aquitard, a dense layer of rock that protects the main aquifer deep underground. A 2002 report into the City’s water quality discovered that the Guelph’s various wells and aquifers were all connected, meaning that contamination at the quarry could affect the rest of Guelph’s ground water in part, or in whole.
Guelph is the largest community in Canada to depend solely on ground water for it’s water needs.
“My perspective is that this is a very positive solution for everyone, especially around the protection and safety of our water, both now and in the future,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie at October’s announcement. “I’m really pleased with how we’ve arrived at this solution today.”