Escarpment Blues

Escarpment Blues is the Juno-winning documentary that tells the story of a current land-use conflict in Southern Ontario on the Niagara Escarpment. A 600-acre quarry mine operated by the Nelson Aggregate Company is being expanded by 200 acres, thereby engulfing the natural area around Mt. Nemo, the plateau near where Canada’s own singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer grew up. The site has been designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and parts of the proposed quarry areas have been designated as provincially significant wetlands by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

“I grew up on the escarpment on the farm where my family still lives, within a long green ridge corridor that is prized for its freshwater resources, its wetlands and forests, its endangered species habitats, and its prime agricultural soils. This Biosphere Reserve is under serious threat from the aggregate (sand, gravel, shale) industry. Large multinational aggregate companies continually apply to change “tough” environmental land zoning to open new quarries on top of the Niagara Escarpment. Extracting the rock (mostly to be crushed for gravel) below the water table results in headwater depletion and contamination and destroys the most biologically diverse ecosystems in all of Ontario.”

In June 2005, Harmer, along with her band, launched the I Love The Escarpment tour across southern Ontario in order to raise donations for PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land), a conservation group she co-founded. The bandmates walk through the area, playing small venues along the way. Escarpment Blues documents Harmer’s fight to protect the remaining fresh water supply, save species such as the Jefferson Salamander and butternut tree, and preserve the ecological balance.

Watch the TVO video.

Source: TV Ontario: The View From Here.

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