PUSLINCH – A guerilla campaign by a Puslinch citizen’s group highlighted the divide between the province and municipality on environmental issues such as the aggregate industry in the township.
Three weeks ago, green signs with a minimalist design and messaging started popping up in Puslinch.
Many simply bore the name of the township but others showed an excavator digging with the letters in Puslinch crumbling away.
This generated some social media and community buzz as people were unsure exactly who was behind the signs and what point they were trying to get across.
Some deduced that this was a statement against aggregate operators in the township, which was mostly correct.
It turns out the campaign was started by the Mill Creek Stewards, who originally formed to oppose a 200-acre aggregate operation proposed along Concession Road 2.
John McNie, member of the Mill Creek Stewards, explained in a phone interview that the campaign was left intentionally vague to stimulate conversation and interest.
“If the signs spelled everything out people would just go ‘okay that’s interesting,’” McNie said.
“These signs left it kind of ‘what exactly are they up to here and what point are they trying to make?’ We thought that might raise a little more community interest.”
Although Mill Creek Stewards started as an aggregate opposition group, McNie said this campaign is more about how the province can override municipal plans to protect greenland and watershed and uses the aggregate industry as an example and metaphor for this.
“Hence the signs showing a green Puslinch, crumbling under the aggregate shovels with a deteriorating environment reflected by the darkening sky,” McNie wrote in a letter sent before the interview.
“It’s not specifically aggregate oriented but uses aggregate as an example of the general threat we are facing.”
He noted the recent changes to the conservation act, which many municipalities had asked the province to hold off on, as an example of this.
“We really just wanted to address the issue of the province not giving municipalities a voice,” McNie said.
“It’s so clear with this conservation authority issue that once again they’ve claimed consultation … and carried on with the agenda they had to start with. We need to get the province and the municipalities on a balanced relationship where they’re actually listening to each other.”
The signs have come down for winter but McNie said the Mill Creek Stewards will bring them back out to highlight their issues with the proposed aggregate site on Concession Road 2.
The owner of the site, Brazillian aggregate company Votorantim Cimentos CBM, was expected to apply for a rezoning of the 200-acre site in November but there has been no application for this to date.