Press Release: Unanimous Halton Region Vote to Permanently Protect Mount Nemo Plateau

Press Release: Unanimous Halton Region Vote  to Permanently Protect  Mount Nemo Plateau

JUNE 25, 2024 –

Council Resolution calls on the Ford Government to protect the unique ecosystems, endangered species,  and prime agricultural land.

Halton Region – On June 19, 2024, Halton Regional Council voted 21-0 to pass a Resolution championed by the City of Burlington’s Mayor and Council. The Resolution calls for a re-designation of the Mount Nemo Plateau to protect it from future, major development like urban sprawl and new industrial activities like pits and quarries.

Mount Nemo lies 100% within Ontario’s Greenbelt.

This follows the City’s own unanimous Resolution of May 21, 2024. The Region’s motion calls on the Ontario government to stop the March 2025 Ontario Land Tribunal Hearing on the Nelson Aggregates’ new quarry application.  The Reform Gravel Mining Coalition has demonstrated that more aggregate mining is not needed in Halton.

The Resolution also calls on the Province to update decades old land-use designations on the Mount Nemo Plateau to properly reflect current conditions on the ground, and permanently protect this key headwater area of the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

During his delegation, Roger Goulet, director of local environmental group PERL –Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, reminded Council members “We have all been here before, the people of Halton and our elected officials have been making this same plea for years, and now the science is even clearer, we must protect the Mount Nemo Plateau.” From 2009 through 2016, multiple resolutions have been passed by the City of Burlington, Halton Regional Council and the Niagara Escarpment Commission, all asking for the Province to re-designate land on the Mount Nemo Plateau to ‘Escarpment Natural’ and ‘Escarpment Protection’, designations that prohibit major industrial facilities like gravel mining and processing, and landfilling construction waste.

Nelson Aggregates submitted an application in 2019 for two new licenses to expand their current extraction areas (which are almost exhausted) to the south and west of the current 520 acre open-pit quarry lands of Burlington’s Mount Nemo Plateau. The total size of the new mines would be 124-acres – the size of 62 CFL football fields.  In 2012, the Ontario Municipal Board denied Nelson’s application for a new, 105-acre quarry in the same location.

“We must protect this vital fountainhead before it collapses from over-development. Further industrialization of Mount Nemo would jeopardize drinking water for hundreds of residents, and flood mitigation for many downstream,” said Sarah Harmer, co-founder of PERL, “It would also harm crucial wildlife corridors and habitats, Mount Nemo is the birthplace of so many creek headwaters, including the Grindstone, Bronte, Shoreacres, and Lake Medad, to name just a few.”  Sarah’s song ‘Escarpment Blues’ has become an anthem for many community organizations fighting the negative impacts of open-pit mining in Ontario, where a recent Auditor General report showed the provincial government’s poor management of the gravel mining industry.

“We really appreciate Halton Regional Council unanimously asking the Ford government to do the right thing,” said Gord Pinard, head of community group CORE Burlington. “The community was also recently reassured by our newly elected MPP Zee Hamid that he would help protect the unique Mount Nemo Plateau and reject Nelson Aggregates’ quarry application.”

Numerous government agencies have already studied the Nelson application and given it a “thumbs down” in a lengthy report available on-line.

The Joint Agency Review Team (JART) is a multi-agency team, with representatives from City of Burlington, Region of Halton, Niagara Escarpment Commission and Conservation Halton who, with the support of outside experts, jointly completed the technical review of thousands of pages from the Nelson application documents. In June 2023, the report and their findings were issued to the public. There were over 600 unresolved issues identified across 13 technical dimensions, including impacts to air quality, private wells, natural heritage, endangered species, traffic and site rehabilitation, etc.


For more information contact:

Roger Goulet – PERL  289-440-5404


3. Notice of Motion from Councillor Rory Nisan and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward re:  Request to Deny Nelson Aggregates’ Expansion of the Mount Nemo Quarry


Motion Moved by:  Rory Nisan

Seconded by:  Marianne Meed Ward


WHEREAS Nelson Aggregates has a put forward an application for expansion of the Mount Nemo open-pit quarry in the City of Burlington;


WHEREAS the Mount Nemo Plateau is located within Ontario’s Greenbelt and is an integral part of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO Biosphere Reserve;


WHEREAS the Mount Nemo Plateau sustains a fragile and inter-connected ecosystem featuring over 20 headwater tributaries, provincially significant wetlands, areas of natural and scientific interest, regionally significant woodland, and the significant habitat of rare and endangered species;


WHEREAS the balance of the Mount Nemo Plateau is composed of prime agricultural land and this farmland is also under threat of development for aggregate extraction now and in the future;


WHEREAS the Mount Nemo Plateau is a distinct landform that is essential to the ecology, community, economy and identity of the Niagara Escarpment, the Regional Municipality of Halton and the City of Burlington;


WHEREAS the Niagara Escarpment Commission has recommended that new

aggregate operations be prohibited within the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area;


WHEREAS the extraction of aggregate will permanently disrupt the fragile balance of ecology, natural habitat, water and woodland systems, rural and community land use of the Mount Nemo Plateau and supporting area;


WHEREAS the extraction of aggregate is not necessary in the Region as the aggregate industry has the licensed capacity in Ontario to produce 13 times the annual average demand for aggregate in Ontario, with 22 active quarries already in operation in Halton;


WHEREAS a unanimous 2012 Joint Board decision denied a very similar Nelson

extraction application, leading to a 2016 NEC recommendation to protect the Mount Nemo plateau, through a redesignation to Escarpment Natural and Escarpment Protection;


WHEREAS Halton Region, along with the Joint Agency Review Team (JART) comprised of representatives from the City of Burlington, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, Conservation Halton and the Ministry of Natural Resources, as well as local environmental groups such as CORE Burlington, have identified key concerns with the proposed expansion of the Mount Nemo quarry;


WHEREAS Burlington City Council unanimously endorsed a resolution at its May 21 meeting requesting the Provincial Government deny the current application by Nelson Aggregates for expansion of the Mount Nemo quarry.


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Halton Regional Council supports the City of Burlington’s resolution requesting the Provincial Government deny the current application by Nelson Aggregates for expansion of the Mount Nemo open-pit quarry, and to establish long-term protection of the site through the redesignation of the Mount Nemo Plateau to Escarpment Natural and Escarpment Protection; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Regional Clerk forward the resolution to the Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Doug Downey, Attorney General, the Honourable Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Honourable Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Halton MPPs, Halton Local Municipalities, Michael Kraljevic, Chair of Ontario Land Tribunal and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario for their information.


Mayor Meed Ward requested that a recorded vote be taken on the Motion and the results are as follows:

Yeas:  Carr, Adams, Ali, Bentivegna, Best, Burton, Duddeck, Elgar, Fogal, Galbraith, Haslett-Theall, Ijaz, Knoll, Krantz, Lawlor, Malboeuf, Meed Ward, Nisan, O’Meara, Sharman, Somerville (21).

Nays:  None (0).

As a result of the recorded vote, the Motion   CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY