Wilmot Township council’s rejection of a proposed gravel pit along Witmer Road is the latest win for a growing push to ask the province for a moratorium on new pits.

After two marathon meetings where councillors heard overwhelming opposition to the plan, council rejected the application to rezone the farm land near Shingletown Monday night.

Recently, councils in North Dumfries Township and Woolwich Township have rejected gravel proposals.

“The two most important things to our survival – food and water – are both being threatened,” resident John Jordan told council.

Coun. Angie Hallman agreed, pointing out the land is prime agricultural land.

“We have to feed people for generations to come, and that was a large concern of mine,” she said.

If approved, this pit would have been the eighth in the area.

IBI Group represented the applicant proposing the zoning change, saying the proposal met all required provincial and township standards.

“The objectors have been persistent that no levels of documentation will satisfy them,” said David Sisco of IBI Group.

In voting down the proposal, Wilmot council joins calls from other municipalities and community groups to change how the zoning process handles these types of projects.

“Almost any other thing we do with land use, particularly things that are not benign that cause negative effects both environmentally and socially, they need to be justified,” said Graham Flint, a member of Reform Gravel Mining Coalition.

“This industry doesn’t even have to explore that test,” he added.

His group argued it’s too easy to meet the zoning requirements, and there’s no limit on how many pits can be allowed.

North Dumfries Township is the third largest producer of aggregate in Ontario, but its council supports a moratorium on gravel pits.

“We want a more workable system that will work for both sides that also takes into consideration the people in the landscape,” said Mayor Sue Foxton.

The townships want the province to give municipalities the power to control what goes into their backyards.

“This speaks to the province needing to change legislation and give stricter guidelines to operations like this,” said Coun. Hallman. “Enough is enough.”

Despite council’s rejection, the fight for the pit is not over yet.

The applicant indicated an intention to appeal during the meeting, although no timeline has been laid out at this point.