There are four key steps in the approved plan to protect Guelph’s drinking water.
1. Moving Guelph’s boundary to include the Dolime Quarry lands
The process for moving Guelph’s boundary to include the quarry lands, formerly part of Guelph-Eramosa Township, is complete. As of January 1, 2022, the City of Guelph has municipal jurisdiction for the quarry property. The quarry owner still owns the property.
2. Land use planning approvals
Land use planning includes both provincial and City approvals to allow residential development.
The Province has approved the City’s request for a Minister’s Zoning Order to establish the principle of residential use on the property; the Order does not include site plan approvals.
City planning approvals will take place under step 4.
3. Building a system to protect Guelph’s drinking water
The City will take control of the quarry’s water supply. The Southwest Guelph Water Supply Class Environmental Assessment currently underway includes a testing program to monitor water quality and quantity at the quarry and throughout Guelph’s southwest. Results from the testing program will be used inform the need for, and design and function of a water management system to protect Guelph’s drinking water for the long-term. The testing program will also determine how much additional water supply is available to meet Guelph’s growing needs and what the environmental impacts of using groundwater resources currently used in quarry operations.
In the meantime, the quarry owner, with input from the City, is managing water takings to ensure that Guelph’s drinking water is safe
4. Planning and building the residential development
The City and quarry owner have signed an agreement that publicly commits to a thorough public planning process, similar to a secondary plan, to determine the specific residential uses that are appropriate on the property. Land use studies and planning for the residential development are expected to begin in 2022.
Planning includes environmental impact and other required studies to define development limits, road networks, parkland allocations, natural heritage buffers, and servicing needs for water, wastewater and stormwater management. The planning process includes opportunities for the community to help shape the new residential development through formal engagement. The agreement also assures that these planning requirements apply to future property owners if the land is sold.
The quarry owners will lead and finance the remediation and revitalization of the quarry site to replace it with a new residential neighbourhood.