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Petersburg residents kick up dust over another proposed pit

A new sand pit could be coming to Wilmot based on a recommendation from township staff, and Petersburg residents aren't pleased.

“Now there's six and they want to bring in a seventh one,” said Keith Krann, referencing the number of pits along Synder's Road East.

In an email to CTV News, planning staff from the township said: "While there are six existing aggregate licenses along Snyder’s Road East, there are only four aggregate operations. Two of the operations are made up of two licenses."

The new pit would be located at 1856 Snyder's Rd. E. Staff will recommend that council approve it during a May 29 meeting at 6 p.m.

While existing pits have already stirred up a lot of emotion, there is no defeat from residents living along this stretch of road. Signs that read 'Stop! New sand pit' are plastered on people's front lawns.

Keith Krann has lived in Petersburg for 50 years. (CTV News/Spencer Turcotte)

Kraan has a sign of his own. He's lived in Petersburg for 50 years and says he can hardly enjoy sitting on his front porch now because of all the noise.

In the staff report to be considered by council, noise control measures have been outlined. Despite being both partially blind and deaf, Kraan isn't convinced those measures will even help him.

"I don't want to see it. I don't want to hear it," he says.

Signs that read "Stop! New sand pit" are plastered on people's front lawns. (CTV News/Spencer Turcotte)

Petersburg Sand Company wants to change zoning from 'agricultural' to 'extractive industrial' to make way for the pit, which could produce 450,000 tonnes of gravel and sand annually. All of it would be happening right behind Steven Bechthold's house.

The 68-year-old dialysis patient understands the need for these pits, admitting he uses aggregate himself. What he doesn't understand is why there needs to be so many pits along Snyder's Road. He also worries what having this many close by could do to his health.

From where he does his at-home dialysis treatments, there is a window that leads right to where the proposed pit would be.

"I'm scared for my life," Bechthold says. "My well is just a couple of feet from me here and I think it's about 300 feet from the crushing plant."

The application does stipulate that Petersburg Sand Company would take responsibility for any well water problems caused by extraction.

Just up the street across from an existing pit, Maria Alves is preparing for the mess to get worse.

"It's hard to come off. Brand new windows and you can't even tell the colour," said Alves, wiping dirt off from the windowsill. "It's like you live in the desert."

Maria Alves wipes the dirt from her windowsill. (CTV News/Spencer Turcotte)

Whatever Wilmot council decides, Petersburg residents aren't backing down.

"I'm going to stay here until they bury me," said Kraan.

He just hopes his hamlet doesn't get buried in dust and dirt first. Top Stories

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