Our Community Our Water

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Blue wave image across top. Below blue wave on left, blue drop of water image above three arrows pointing down. Beside on right, title reads "our community our water quarry site revitalization."

Formal opportunities for in-person and online engagement on Our Community, Our Water wrapped up in November 2019. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

We’ve summarized your feedback in a report which we’ve shared with Council to help inform its decision about whether to pursue the proposed solution. Council will make their decision at the March 30, 2020 Council meeting.

In the meantime, if you have more questions you can email us anytime at ocow@guelph.ca.

For more information check out Our Community, Our Water on the City's website.

Formal opportunities for in-person and online engagement on Our Community, Our Water wrapped up in November 2019. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

We’ve summarized your feedback in a report which we’ve shared with Council to help inform its decision about whether to pursue the proposed solution. Council will make their decision at the March 30, 2020 Council meeting.

In the meantime, if you have more questions you can email us anytime at ocow@guelph.ca.

For more information check out Our Community, Our Water on the City's website.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Submit your questions

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Read more about the project at guelph.ca, and if you still have questions, post them here for an answer.

Here are the questions we’re hearing from our community.



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    Where exactly is the quarry and how big is it?

    Curious Cat asked about 1 year ago

    Great question! We created a map to help people see where the quarry is: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1yiTF76q1tqEl8YDmdroZGBXWdXSQxK6B&hl=en&usp=sharing

    The quarry property is around 98 hectares, or 242 acres. That's about one percent of Guelph's current land area (8,722 hectares or 21,553 acres), or an area equal to 183 football fields or about 646 hockey rinks. Only about two-thirds of the land area is suitable for development and finally permitted development will depend on environmental and other studies to be completed as part of the development planning process. 

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    Why can't this are be returned to its natural state? Why must developers rule every decision and planning made in city hall? Why do we just keep sprawling and sprawling? When is anyone going to actually question the value and consequences of endless growth?

    Alberto asked about 1 year ago

    It's important to understand that the land is and will continue to be owned by the owners of the quarry, even after it comes into Guelph's jurisdictional (municipal boundary). The City will get control of the water supply to ensure it's protected in the long-term. Instead of continuing to quarry the site, which has another 15-30 years of viable life, the owner will stop quarrying, and maintain the commercial viability of their property through a mixed-use residential development. The quarry owner will be responsible for the rehabilitation of the site prior to development too, and the development will include parkland and trails. 

    As for growth, the Province sets growth targets for Guelph (through the Places to Grow Act), and we're expected to grow to a population of 191,000 by 2041. Guelph has control of where and how we grow, so we'll be able to help shape what this residential development looks like should Council approve moving ahead with the proposed solution. 

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    Can you provide more details on the type of water management system used to mitigate possible negative effects from both the remediated quarry, and the housing development? Given the sensitive nature of the aquitard, is the City proposing some type of membrane or similar technology to capture / sequester harmful bacteria and contaminants? It seems likely that during construction of the new housing development there would be much greater risk of contamination and harm to the aquitard.

    Steve.E. asked about 1 year ago

    The final water management system the City uses will be determined through a formal environmental assessment process. The City is looking at a system that would keep groundwater flowing toward the quarry to prevent surface water from entering the aquifer. The proposed system would be similar to the current pumping system used for quarry dewatering. There would be no risk to the aquitard from rehabilitation or residential development. The plan is for the water management system to be built before any development begins. The water management system would run continually and protect our groundwater during residential construction.

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    “Creating a new mixed-use residential neighbourhood that people can call home“ This area is already ‘home’ to many wild creatures. Why can’t it be left as a natural area to protect the species which already dwell there? We have to destroy everything in the name of development?

    Dianne asked about 1 year ago

    The residential development would be on the site of the quarry, an already disturbed landscape. The development would include parkland and trails, and early quarry closure would mean less disturbance to wildlife living in nearby natural areas. The quarry is otherwise expected to continue operating for another 15-30 years. 

    The residential development is also what the quarry owner gets in exchange for shutting the quarry down early. Both the City and the quarry owner have interests that need to be addressed; the proposed solution addresses both, and has the added benefit of addressing blasting concerns by people currently living next to the quarry. That blasting has effects on wildlife too. 

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    Is the Quarry going to take on any of the cost of remediation or is the City going to have to foot the bill for all the water problems created over the years? How can a business put the city's water in danger and just walk away from the project without having to pay the burden of water problems long term?

    kaz asked about 1 year ago

    The quarry operator was legally permitted and licensed to dig to depth of the aquitard. Once the City advised the quarry owners of our concerns about impacts to the aquitard, they stopped work in the area where the aquitard was reached.

    Regardless, the quarry owner is responsible for all costs associated with remediation of the site which would be outlined in their closure plan.


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    Giving the City control of the quarry’s water supply and building an on-site water management system, should this of been done years ago?

    frank asked about 1 year ago

    There's no immediate risk to our drinking water. The City's water quality concerns relate to the quarry’s eventual closure. After quarry operations stop and the quarry fills with water, any damage to the aquitard could allow surface water to mix with groundwater, passing on bacteria or other contaminants. Right now continued quarry operations include keeping water away from the breach so there is no mixing of surface water and groundwater. 

    Meanwhile, this is a complex issue. It has involved exploring a number of different solutions that would address long-term needs. Over the last five years of confidential mediation, the City and RVD made good progress by collecting more data on groundwater movement on and off the quarry site, studying other similar situations, working to come to a mutual understanding of each other’s concerns and needs and, more recently, developing the solution being explored now. 

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    Has the quarry already fully breached the aquifers and, if it has, what can be done to remediate the situation?

    ARoloson asked about 1 year ago

    In 2008, City staff discovered that legal and permitted quarrying activities at Dolime had removed part of the aquitard – the layer of rock that protects our drinking water supply. Once aware of the City's concerns around water quality as a result of the breach, and despite not agreeing with our concerns, the quarry owner agreed to the City’s request to cease further quarrying in that area and of the aquitard overall.

    The City's water quality concerns relate to the quarry’s eventual closure. After quarry operations stop and the quarry fills with water, any damage to the aquitard could allow surface water to mix with groundwater, passing on bacteria or other contaminants. Right now continued quarry operations include keeping water away from the breach so there is no mixing of surface water and groundwater. 

    The solution we’re exploring aims to manage the long-term risk, after the quarry closes. Once the land becomes part of Guelph, the City would take control of the water supply and build a system to prevent surface water mixing with groundwater.

    It's also interesting to note that the license under which the quarrying of the aquitard occurred was granted in the 1990s before there was a good understanding of the location of the aquitard in this area. 

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    If we're a groundwater community why do we keep growing? Shouldn't we just stop?!?

    louise1982 asked about 1 year ago

    Managing growth and change, while making the city a better place to live, is important to all who live and work in Guelph. Just as we plan our lives, we must look ahead to understand what we want in our community and how to achieve it.

    Guelph is part of one of the fastest growing regions in Ontario and we’ve seen considerable growth in our community over the last decade. Growth in Guelph is mandated through Ontario’s Places to Grow strategy. How we grow is partly up to the City. That’s where Guelph’s water supply master plan comes in. Through Guelph’s water supply master plan, we identify and prioritize where we’ll source water for our growing community.

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    If this quarry closes, won’t another one just open somewhere else?

    louise1982 asked about 1 year ago

    That’s not up to us. We understand the growing demand for aggregate in Ontario and the value that aggregates provide—aggregates build houses and roads which we all need. We also want what’s best for the future of our community and in this case that’s protecting our drinking water supply.

    To learn more about quarries, please visit Ontario’s aggregate resources page

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    Is there enough water for another residential development?

    louise1982 asked about 1 year ago

    If the proposal proceeds, and we get through all the required planning steps, there would be a public planning process to determine what the new development would look like. Once that is complete, the City would be able to calculate expected water use for the new development based on the number of people we expect to live there, and this information would be integrated into the City’s water supply master plan. Ultimately, we expect that a new residential development would use less water than the quarry currently uses, and the City’s drinking water concerns will also have been addressed.