By Sue Tiffin
Published Oct. 10 2017
A request for a pavement design review looking into what impact if any would be made by heavy truck traffic should a pit and quarry be developed on McClintock Road was rescinded by Algonquin Highlands council at an Oct. 5 meeting.
The plans to expand the existing sand pit about six kilometres northeast of Dorset into an approximately 52-acre quarry were proposed by John Bacher Construction Limited in July.
At a July 20 meeting of council Mayor Carol Moffatt stressed the township had no control over the application but could make requests although the province was not obliged to grant any of them. At that meeting the township requested that a pavement durability review be conducted for the township-owned road in the area to determine if heavy truck traffic would have an impact on the road.
A letter sent to the township in August from David Villard of Pebble Beach Aggregate representing John Bacher Construction requested the pavement design review be reconsidered as site plans had been modified after concerned public feedback. Tonnage allowance from the quarry was reduced from 285000 tonnes per year to 75000 tonnes.
“The annual tonnage for the proposed permit has been reduced to 75000 tonnes per year although it is expected that no more than 10000 to 20000 tonnes would be hauled in any given year” reads the letter. “This is totally dependent on the local market and in some cases the requirement for crushed rock on Municipal contracts. In summary we do not anticipate a major increase in the number of trucks hauling from this source. Whether the trucks come from this pit/quarry or from another source most likely off of Highway 35 there will be truck traffic impacting the road. Having a local source of crushed rock could actually reduce the total number of kilometres travelled by trucks on the municipal roads east of Highway 35.”
“That would be considerably less impact to our road” said Mike Thomas township operations manager.
Harris Road which had received a seven out of 10 rating compared to McClintock Road’s eight out of 10 rating in 2013 had seen heavier than normal truck traffic recently due to Hwy 60 construction but appeared to show very minimal impact according to Thomas.
“Based on the revised extraction numbers provided in the attached letter given there are currently similar size operating pits in the area that cause minimal damage to the road and that there was minimal impact on a similar constructed road during a heavily used period of time staff agree that there would not be a negative impact on the municipal road and would recommend that the Pavement Design Review be removed as a requirement” reads his report to council.
Moffatt noted the reduced amount and asked if the road would still hold up if it should be used for a maximum load of 75000 tonnes.
Thomas said he believed so and had conferred with a county engineer who agreed.
“It’s held up very well in the past few years” he said. “It’s taking quite a bit of truck driving now.”
“There is a lot of logging traffic on that road as well” said Councillor Brian Lynch. “I’d be just as concerned with the logging traffic as I am with the dump truck traffic.”
“Unless we’re going to post a sentinel or a gatekeeper I don’t know how any municipality determines what truck from what company hauling what load – I don’t know how you pick on one company over another” said Moffatt. “Lots of people use roads that’s the thing. If someone calls and says there’s some damage to the road how do you know who does it that’s the problem is knowing whose truck caused it.”
Bacher Construction has been in operation since 1976. It employs approximately 25 people and services areas throughout Muskoka and Haliburton County.