Kitchener-Waterloo

Dolime Quarry in Guelph may close early, become residential neighbourhood

The City of Guelph wants to hear from people about plans to get rid of the Dolime Quarry and use the area for housing.

Proposal tackles city’s concerns about how operations at quarry could impact Guelph's drinking water

The City of Guelph has reached a proposal with River Valley Developments, who've owned the Dolime Quarry since 2004, which could turn the quarry into a new mixed-sued residential neighbourhood in the future. (Google Maps)

The City of Guelph wants to hear from people about plans to get rid of the Dolime Quarry and use the area for housing.

The city has had ongoing concerns about how the quarry operations could impact the city's drinking water in the future.

City staff and the owners of the quarry, River Valley Developments, have been in talks for the past five years to come up with a solution.

They've now agreed on a proposed plan that could see the Dolime Quarry closed and turned into mixed-used residential neighbourhoods.

City officials said the quarry's activities could affect the aquitard, a layer of rock that filters and protect the groundwater the city uses.

Guelph is among several Canadian cities that primarily rely on groundwater to provide clean drinking water.

Groundwater takes longer to replenish and is vulnerable to overuse, and Guelph's water use can reach almost 50 million litres daily, according to city officials.

"After years of exploring a number of solutions through mediation over the last five years, this is a huge step forward," Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie said in a release.

"We think closing the quarry early is a real win for our community because it will finally address our longstanding drinking water concerns."

'We're willing to co-operate'

If the proposal is approved by city council and the province, it would see the Dolime Quarry closed and the area revitalized into a new mixed-use residential neighbourhood.

Bob Baxter, general manager of River Valley Developments, who've owned the quarry since 2004, said they don't agree with the city's concerns, but are willing to co-operate.

"We're only revising our business plan because of the ongoing water issues the City of Guelph has brought to us," he said in an interview.

"We worked on this solution for the last three or four years and came to the conclusion that this is the best task forward for the City of Guelph and we're willing to co-operate."

Baxter said there would be no job losses if the quarry were to close.

The city says the quarry uses roughly 11 million litres of water on a daily basis. It says it would build a system to protect the groundwater from exposure to surface water contamination that could damage the aquitard.

As a result, the city launched an educational campaign called Our Community, Our Water.

The city is hosting an open house at city hall on Oct. 29 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 pm. to 8 p.m. A second open house will be held in November.

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