Blasting return to Kinburn Quarry surprise to many

KINBURN – Blasting from the area of the Kinburn Quarry yesterday (Aug. 24) could be heard in Deerwood, Marathon Village and allegedly as far away as the Dunrobin area, a surprise to many who thought detonations at the quarry were gone for good.

West Carleton residents started buzzing on social media around 2 p.m. looking for answers to “earth-shaking, blasting sounds” heard in the Marathon Village area.

One resident reported their whole house shook from their residence at Donald B. Munro and Thomas A. Dolan drives – roughly seven kilometres away from the quarry. Deerwood resident Debra Sine says the blasting started roughly around 2:10 p.m. and went on “for probably an hour.”

While explosions in general are surprising,  these ones even more so as Deerwood residents in particular, thought blasting at the Kinburn Quarry was gone for good.

Since 2008 the Department of National Defence and its contractors have used the Thomas Cavanagh Kinburn Quarry at 3492 Grants’ Side Rd. for explosives training purposes. In 2008 the Ontario Municipal Board agreed to add small arms, riles and explosives testing to the quarry’s permitted uses.

Last March, the issue came to a head and following several conversations between stakeholders in the lead-up to scheduled blasting on March 20.

Cavanagh Construction Quality Control’s Phil White emailed the Deerwood community on March 16 to inform them the construction company “has cancelled the training at the quarry, as a result of the community concerns.”

Unfortunately, it appears the DND didn’t get the memo.

Sine says she spoke with White shortly after the blasting and her conversation with White left her believing there was no prior notice given to the quarry owners about the Aug. 24 blasting.

“Mr. White indicates even his own staff were startled when the blasts began,” Sine told West Carleton Online yesterday. “Normally, a seismograph would be set up and the community notified, but we were under the impression that DND had abandoned all military testing and exercises as a result of discussions with the community in March of this year.”

Sine can’t believe the blasting is back.

“Given the long history of this matter, and our express opposition to military testing in the Deerwood/Stonewalk neighbourhood, we are astonished the military is again acting in blatant disregard for the community’s concerns and continuing to conduct testing here,” Sine said. “We are scratching our heads as to why are we having the same argument with DND that we were having in March.”

Sine contacted the military following soon after her conversation with White.

“As you are no doubt aware, our community was subjected to a series of frightening blasts this afternoon which we understand originated from Kinburn Quarry,” Sine wrote in an email Aug. 24 addressed to National Defence members Canadian Special Forces training coordinator Sgt. Raphael Caesar and public affairs officer Amelie Leduc. “The explosions began shortly after 2 p.m. this afternoon, shaking the windows of our homes and disturbing everyone who was present, including elderly persons, small children and pets. We were given no advance warning the testing would take place, nor was a seismograph set up to measure the detonations. We are dismayed your staff would resume its military testing activities without informing us, in blatant disregard for the community’s expressed concerns for damages to property and well water, as well as interference with our peaceful enjoyment of property. As you know, we communicated all of these concerns directly to you and Minister Harjit Sajjan in March of this year.”

Sine pointed to building consultant and contractor Carp’s Oliver Drerup as to why blasting is particularly risky to the nearby community.

“As a building contractor having constructed several residences in the Kinburn area on the limestone substrate which once were islands in the outflow of the inland sea of North America, I can attest that good building practice in this type of geology demands founding buildings in the area directly on the ledge with limited ground cover,” he wrote to the DND representatives. “Explosions travel remarkably well through this ledge and the complaints voiced by the folks signing this petition attest to that reality.” 

West Carleton Online has attempted to contact the DND’s Sgt. Caesar and Leduc for confirmation blasting alleged to have occurred at the Kinburn Quarry was the responsibility of the military and its contractors, and will update this story if we receive a reply.

“We are tired of having to continually plead for peaceful enjoyment of our homes and protection of our property from damages due to military activities,” Sine wrote in her email.