THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO ~~ May 17, 2020 (LSN) Mineral aggregate resources are recognized as essential in almost all forms of construction, and as such have long been considered by the Province to be a matter of provincial interest, worthy of a cohesive approach to protection by Provincial Policy.
On average Ontario utilizes 164 million tonnes of aggregates each year. The largest consumer of aggregate is the public sector. Road and Highway construction alone account for nearly 60% of all aggregate usage in Ontario. The greatest cost associated with the supply of aggregates is the hauling cost. It is estimated that if all of the aggregates used in Ontario were to be hauled from a source 1 km further from market it would take an additional 5.1 million litres of diesel fuel, with the result of generating additional greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 7,500 tonnes annually and additional hauling costs of approximately $13,000,000/annum. These costs would be principally borne by the various levels of government and inevitably the taxpayer.
Lempiala Sand and Gravel Ltd., a related Corporation of Bruno’s Contracting (Thunder Bay) Ltd. wants to haul aggregates from a site near Trout Lake to its processing facility on Dog Lake Road. Lempiala has owned the subject property since the late 1970s.
Lempiala carries on business as a supplier of mineral aggregate resources. It is the main producer of concrete aggregates in the Thunder Bay area and is the only approved active supplier of concrete aggregates for the Ministry of Transportation between Marathon and Kenora. Lempiala supplies aggregates for all of the concrete producers and manufacturers of concrete pipes, catchbasins, manholes and concrete precast in the Thunder Bay area.
Lempiala is currently extracting its concrete aggregates from a gravel pit adjacent to Hazelwood Lake on Old Hall Road and a gravel pit on Goodman Lake Road. The staff at Lempiala estimate that it has only 2-3 years supply of concrete aggregates at these 2 locations and will need to find a new source of aggregates for its concrete products or it will be out of business.
In December of 2016 Lempiala applied to the Lakehead Rural Planning Board for a zoning change to the Trout Lake property, to permit the extraction of gravel from the property and the hauling of the aggregates to its Dog Lake plant for processing. In order to minimize the intrusiveness of its operations on the surrounding property owners, Lempiala proposed that its operations in the gravel pit would be limited to loading with one loader and hauling with 4 trucks. The trucks would access the property via its frontage on HWY 591 and would not use any of the Trout Lake camp roads. It is estimated that there would be one truck leaving the property every 8-10 minutes. Lempiala proposed to leave a treed buffer of 200 feet and a ten foot berm along it’s north-east boundary, a 200 foot treed buffer along its east boundary and a 100 foot buffer along its south and east boundary along HWY 591. Lempiala proposed that there would be no crushing, processing, stockpiling, fuel storage nor buildings on the property. It is estimated that based on current market demands Lempiala would be able to extract all of the aggregates from the Trout Lake pit in 7-8 years. Lempiala would perform progressive rehabilitation of the pit as it removed the aggregates and once all the aggregates were removed the entire site would be restored to a natural form including the replanting of tree seedlings.
In support of its rezoning application Lempiala provided the following reports prepared by Qualified Professionals; Groundwater Summary Report, Natural Environment Level 1 Assessment Report, Noise Assessment Report and Air Quality Assessment Report. On July 5, 2018 the Lakehead Rural Planning Board approved the zoning amendment to permit the extraction of gravel from the Trout Lake property. This decision was appealed by the Trout Lake Camper’s Association and 2 other property owners. On April 29, 2020 the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal issued its decision and ordered the Lakehead Rural Planning Board to make a new decision in the application for an extractive industrial operation on the Trout Lake property. Lempiala plans to update the studies that were prepared for the subject property and prepare detailed operational plans to submit to the Lakehead Rural Planning Board for their consideration.
Although the Bruno’s Contracting/Lempiala Group operate numerous other gravel pits in the Thunder Bay area, those aggregates are not suitable for concrete. They do not have any other sources that could be used for concrete stone. The Group have applied for a permit to extract aggregates on Crown Land approximately 6-7 km past the Trout Lake property however it is not known how long the approval for this site will take. Unfortunately, the remaining known gravel deposits that are expected to be suitable for concrete are all located on Crown land between Trout Lake and Dog Lake. There is a geological formation referred to as the Dog Lake Moraine that runs from Onion Lake Road through Lappe, Trout Lake on to Dog Lake. As the gravel aggregates have been depleted closer to town the extraction of gravel has followed the moraine westerly towards Dog lake. There is a perception that there is an abundance of gravel in the Township of Gorham and Ware due to the fact that there are a lot of existing pits however the vast majority of these pits are either depleted or do not have sufficient stone content to economically process without adding blasted rock to supplement the stone content. Lempiala has tested the blasted rock that is available in the area and find that although it is suitable for processing to create Granular A for road base and stone for asphalt products it is not suitable for concrete.
Extraction of concrete aggregates in this area is not something new. Between 1980 and 2000 millions of tonnes of concrete aggregates were removed from gravel pits located on the south-east side of Gilbride Road between Trout Lake and One Island Lake. These pits were depleted around that time and between 2000 and present most of the concrete aggregates have been extracted from the Lempiala pits on Hazelwood Lake and on Goodman Lake road.
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