Ontario, Canada’s Acting Auditor General Nick Stavropoulos released a report titled “Management of Aggregate Resources” that calls out the province’s track record in enforcing the aggregates industry.
“Limited inspection and enforcement, and the lack of experienced inspectors, means the province is not doing enough to maintain a balance between the need for aggregates for Ontario’s growing population, and the need to minimize the impacts of aggregate operations on the environment and communities,” said Stavropoulos.
The report found that only 35% of Ontario’s sand, stone and gravel pits were inspected over the past five years, and between 36 and 52% of them were compliant. Of the 3,400 violations, less than 1% were referred for enforcement.
Mike McSweeney, the executive director of Ontario’s Stone, Sand, and Gravel Association said he welcomes the report, and he is proud of the industry’s 100-plus year track record. He added, while there’s room for improvement in the aggregate industry, stone, sand and gravel is in almost every building and road in Ontario, and will be for the foreseeable future.
The report features 18 Recommendations on how the Ministry can do its job better. The audit concludes that the Ministry did not have “effective systems and processes in place to ensure compliance with the Aggregate Resources Act and aggregate-related regulations, policies and approvals, nor to oversee aggregate development and operations in a manner that minimizes adverse impacts on the environment.”
Local and national NIMBY and environmental groups want to see fewer applications approved for permits.
“Aggregate is here to stay. It’s an indispensable part of the building materials industry and we need more good quality aggregate, not less,” McSweeney said.