According to , the main reasons why the people living in Caledon, Ontario, Canada actively reject Extraction Industries in the area are:
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- The exponential increase in aggregate operations in the region.
- Pollution in the form of dust and noise resulting from the effects of blasts and also resulting from the frequent movement of trucks in the region.
- Low levels of revenues to the locals from the aggregate operations in the region.
- The potential to render the region ecologically damaged or incapable of any other operations other than aggregate operations due to the arbitrary nature of the public designation of the region as a prime region for the resource of aggregate materials.
- The presence of a taxation structure which enables the extraction companies to obtain vast extraction regions which they extract slowly and rehabilitate slowly as opposed to a structure which requires the companies to obtain small regions which can be extracted and rehabilitated as fast as possible, so that they can be used for alternative purposes.
However, the extraction companies in the region have various efficient-scale narratives in support of their aggregate operations. First, the companies claim that the proximity of the region to the aggregates’ location of consumption (the market) makes their operations in the region economically feasible. This, they argue, is due to the low transportation costs; a consequence of the closeness of the region to the market.
Secondly, the companies argue that the low cost of transportation would lead to a low cost of building homes and other infrastructure in the region as the cement will not be expensive. However, finds that the companies were actively involved in extraction operations in other regions situated at a large distance from the market; regions which could sufficiently supply aggregate to the market.
Third, the companies claim that the short distance between the region and the market is environmentally advantageous as it contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions enabling the region to meet its carbon emissions reduction as required by the Kyoto Agreement.
To disprove these claims, notes that the companies could adopt other forms of transport apart from truck transportation, such as rail or water; and that the companies could also positively impact the environment by increasingly recycling the aggregates.
In conclusion, the strong rejection of Extraction industries in Caledon, Ontario shows that ownership of natural resources does not necessarily translate to the enjoyment of those resources. For instance, not only does Caledon contain large quantities of aggregates, which could benefit a large number of people, but it also has an advantageous geographical position due to its closeness to the main market for the aggregates.
This advantageous positioning and natural resources seem to be a blessing to the region. However, Caledon does not entirely enjoy these resources due to various disadvantages such as; pollution due to increasing extraction of the resources in the region, lack of direct revenues to its people from the resources, the potential of ecological damage to the region, and lack of alternative uses of land in the region.
Do these disadvantages provide an adequate reason to stop extraction of aggregates in Caledon, or is it a small price to pay for the benefit of the large number of people who will benefit from the aggregates?
Sandberg, C. C. (2007). Pits, Peripheralization and the Politics of Scale:Struggles over Locating Extractive Industries in the Town of Caledon. Regional Studies, 327-338.