MHCA increasingly concerned about Quarry Rehab Program

Pile of aggregate

Executive Committee directs MHCA to ask province to clarify program’s future

The future of a long-standing and successful program that sees spent pits and quarries rehabilitated is in doubt after months of no movement by the provincial government to flow funds to pay for the work.

The MHCA Executive Committee expressed real concern at its meeting Wednesday, noting that there are projects in which the construction work to return the pits to safe, usable environments for communities is complete, but the companies doing that work are not being paid.

“Aggregate producers pay into that special fund, held in trust by the provincial government, based on the tonnage of material extracted, for the express purpose of rehabilitating the pit or quarry once the resource is used,” MHCA President Chris Lorenc noted. “It is inconceivable that the industry is expected to continue to pay a levy, with no indication at all from the provincial government about the future of the program.

“We need a discussion because if that program – a very successful industry-led effort, by any measure used in Canada – is to change, there has to be a consultation that also includes the communities being affected by this halt to funding.”

The provincial government froze the flow of funds from the program this summer, telling industry only that there is an investigation proceeding.

The Executive Committee directed Lorenc to send a letter to Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen, seeking details on the province’s intentions for the program and for pit and quarry rehabilitation.

Other items discussed by the committee included:

  • A meeting has been set with the City of Winnipeg administration to speak to procurement issues, including recent decisions to cancel a tender advertised and sole-source a contract
  • A recent review by third-party firm MNP of the Workers Compensation Board’s past five-year initiative for injury prevention has been posted publicly. Among the recommendations is that industry-based safety programs, such as WORKSAFELY, should be left to deliver safety programming, with support from SAFE Work Manitoba.
  • WORKSAFELY is continuing its work to clarify Workplace Safety and Health’s requirements on suppressing silica and other particulate dust at worksites
  • Attendance at MHCA’s Annual General Meeting and Gala, November 16, will be high again this year, with tickets selling well. This year, the AGM will see a change in the Chair’s position – Jack Meseyton takes the gavel from Greg Orbanski, who has served as Chair for the past two years.

Lorenc noted that these are simply the highlights of the advocacy and business priorities of the MHCA in the last month.

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