Council Decision on Request for Moratorium Support or Interim Control By-law – Walker Industries Quarry Application

On February 6, 2024, Niagara Falls City Council was asked by an interested resident to write a letter to the Province of Ontario requesting a moratorium on quarries. Council directed Staff to review the request and report back. In addition, on March 5, 2024, as part of the public meeting on the City’s Official Plan, Council received a request for an interim control by-law to halt the quarry application near Fernwood Estates. On March 19, 2024, Staff provided Council with a closed-session report containing legal advice on both requests. Council then resolved in open session to take no position (i.e., neither accept nor deny) the request for a moratorium or an interim control by-law at this time. The City has an active Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment application that is to be brought to a future Council Public Meeting. 

If Council were to issue a decision at this time to either support a moratorium or issue an interim control by-law, such a decision would conflict with the statutory planning process that the City is to follow in respect of the quarry application that is currently before them. The City is obligated to consider the application before it as per the Planning Act, the Provincial Policy Statement, and the A Place To Grow Act policies. The studies being considered in this process come from various areas, such as planning, environmental impact, hydrogeology, land use compatibility, air quality, noise and blasting, financial impact, archeological, cultural and visual. These studies address the policies mentioned above and help Staff fulfill their due diligence requirements as part of the application review process. The same process also allows for the opportunity for all interested stakeholders, including residents near the proposed site, to participate, engage, and submit concerns, as well as provide any studies or expert reports to speak to the policy mentioned above criteria of the quarry application for Staff’s consideration.

Supporting a moratorium or issuing an interim control by-law at this stage means that Council would effectively issue a decision denying the quarry application in advance of the process under the Planning Act that the City must follow and that is designed to evaluate these applications based on their merits. This could expose the City of Niagara Falls to a costly appeal process.

 By following the appropriate process, all affected parties will be given the opportunity to participate and make submissions as part of the City’s statutory planning and public consultation process. By following the appropriate process, a rigorous review can be undertaken by professional Staff, and an informed recommendation can be made.  

In this case, Council has decided not to take a position at this time. Council will, therefore, allow the statutory planning process to run its course in an unfettered manner.

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