For over a century and a half, the Historic Ball’s Bridge and Little Lakes Road area has been a favourite spot for families and children from Huron County and beyond, who come year after year to swim, to skate, to cross country ski, to fish, to canoe and kayak, to hike and to picnic.
The area is breathtakingly beautiful and accessible to all. At its centre is the historic Ball’s Bridge, a Heritage site saved from demolition in 2005. A short hike away through prime agricultural land and forests, are the three Little Lakes, home to much wildlife. Encircling the entire area is the Menesetung (Maitland) River and its wildlife corridor. Joining all of these rare places in this ecologically sensitive area, is the Little Lakes Road.
A community of concerned citizens first came together in 2005 to save the historic Ball’s Bridge from demolition. These efforts won the Ontario Architectural Conservancy Landscape Heritage Award, and the historic Ball’s Bridge continues to be the heart of our community.
The area within the loop of the Menesetung (Maitland) River is ecologically sensitive, containing wetlands and woodlands designated in the ACW Township’s official plan as both “provincially and locally significant” and protected by the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority.
Our community is diverse and consists of those who live beside and in close proximity to the bridge, as well as countless people who use, visit, depend on, fish from, get married on, swim off, and quietly admire this unique structure in its pristine natural setting; and those who hike down Little Lakes Road, listening to the frog choruses and photographing the turtles laying eggs in the spring, identifying wild plants in the wood lots, and spotting eagles while admiring the fall colours.
In 2020, Van Bree Sand & Gravel applied for a license to operate an open pit below water level aggregate mine, just up from the bridge on Little Lakes Road.
The proposed aggregate operation will eat up valuable agricultural land and destroy interconnected ecosystem of wetlands, river valley, and woodlands with a number of rare and endangered species. The noise, dust and vibration pollution will drive away all existing species and inter-connected life forms, human and non-human. The enjoyment of the historic Ball’s Bridge will be severely eroded and will severely impact recreational tourism.
The community clearly does not want the proposed aggregate mine. In 2021, more than 3,000 supporters signed a petition against the re-zoning of the Little Lakes property. Community representatives are standing up against the aggregate mine at Ontario Land Tribunal hearings.
We must protect this environmental and cultural treasure for our children and their children, and the future of our planet.
Donate today to help us hire lawyers, planners and experts to fight this proposal at the Ontario Land Tribunal in September 2023!