Two provincial politicians are wading into the fight against a proposed gravel pit in the tiny community of West Montrose, north of Waterloo.
Nestled in Woolwich Township, West Montrose boasts the only historic covered bridge left in Ontario, and now residents there have a little more hope they can preserve the area's character.
On Tuesday Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Leanna Pendergast and Etobicoke Centre MPP Donna Cansfield, the former minister of natural resources, were both in the scenic village.
And the message delivered on the banks of the Grand River was that the proposal by Guelph-based Capital Paving to turn nearby farmland into a gravel pit is wrong.
Pendergast says "We're asking for a review of the Aggregate [Resources] Act, we're asking for a provincial overview or a plan for aggregates in the Province of Ontario."
Cansfield is endorsing the call for a review of the act, which hasn't been looked at in a number of years.
"Nobody is opposed to the issue of aggregates; we all know we need them. The question becomes where and how and can we do this in a sustainable way."
At issue is an estimated 2.6 million tonnes of sand and gravel that sits underneath a cornfield in the Mennonite area. It's a valuable resource, but local residents say they want it left right where it is.
Resident Tony Dowling says "We're taking aggregate from inappropriate places. We feel this place is inappropriate. We have half a dozen pits within a couple of kilometres from here."
Woolwich Mayor Todd Cowan agrees. He says "We've made that statement that we're prepared to stand up and go to the [Ontario Municipal Board] within reason, but it's going to be expensive."
The gravel pit plan was first announced in 2008, and since then residents have garnered international support for their fight to protect local heritage.
Dowling says "You have the combination of the bridge and the old order lifestyle. It's a broader area than West Montrose. We refer to this as a living museum."
The province has stepped in once before to stop a proposed gravel pit in Carlisle, a small community south of Guelph.
That was about a year ago, and people in West Montrose hope it could happen again in their community.