Death & Dust – Jeanine & Ken Cressey
Melancthon Mega Quarry
Proposed by The Highland Companies
This is a story that chills your heart not because it is particularly gruesome or terrifying but because it is true. It could happen to me, it could happen to you.
It is about a man and his wife who bought a house in March, 2008 in Snow
Road Station, North Frontenac,
When they bought the house, the field across the road was quiet with hills covered in snow. There were no signs, berms or evidence of any activity. They did a lot of research before buying the house – they spoke to the daughter of the owners, they spoke to the real estate agent. The land was zoned residential and located in a hamlet. They didn’t know the field across the road was a gravel pit. According to zoning regulations, aggregate operations are not allowed in a hamlet.
The Cresseys moved into the house in on
The Cresseys immediately went to the Township. When they had moved in to the house they had been told that there was only local traffic and cottagers. There had been no mention of trucks.
The Township spoke to the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and were told that the site was fine (licenced?).
Mr. Cressey sent a letter to the MNR detailing the dust, lack of signs, lack of visible licence number, lack of berms or tree screens. He requested an environmental assessment but was denied.
The couple spoke to the gravel pit owner. They requested a berm be raised but the owner denied the request due to cost. So they asked for a screen of trees and he complied by planting saplings 2-3 feet tall. He agreed to use dust suppressants in the form of calcium or water, but it is debatable whether those measures were ever taken (Mr. Cressey says “no”).
Now that the site was being worked regularly, Mrs. Cressey, Jeanine, started to cough. Ken took her to the doctors where she undertook x-rays and tests by a respirologist. Her cough became worse as time passed.
They were advised by their Medical Practioner
to move from their home because of Jeanine’s on-going coughing. They put their
house up for sale on
Around that time, the gravel pit owner installed a crusher a mere 300 feet from the Cressey’s front door. According to Ken, “the noise was insane and the dust from the trucks and crushing were even more extreme”.
The couple called the Township again, requesting a visit from the by-law officer. However, they were refused. The Township stated that the pit could legally operate from to and there was nothing that they could do.
Jeanine kept getting worse. She stayed inside the house with the windows closed, suffering the noise and dust.
The pit stopped operations for the winter in September 2009 but Jeanine was still coughing. At one time her coughing was so severe she had bruises on her stomach.
Jeanine died on
Since then Ken Cressey has been committed to getting acknowledgment from the government as to what happened to Jeanine, and he is determined to stop it from happening again.
He contacted the MOE in
He wrote to the Premier, after which both the MNR and MOE became involved.
David Arnott from the MOE stated that Ken’s situation should never have happened. The pit operator did not have a Certificate of Approval (CoA) to crush on site.
Mr. Cressey had a dust sample analyzed and found that the dust contained crystalline silica, a known and listed cancer agent. That dust was allowed by the pit owner to become airborne.
The MNR took responsibility for the case with the MOE in a supporting role. The MNR took the videos, photos and documents to remind the pit operator of his responsibility. They charged him for not having a CoA.
Mr. Ken Cressey’s blog timeline:
Mr. Ken Cressey’s Youtube account:
Mr. Cressey does not want sympathy. He wants a serious review of how aggregate operators are allowed to get away with illegal and wanton operation. He wants public safety and health to be taken into consideration under the Aggregate Resources Act. He doesn't want someone else to die in the senseless way that his wife, Jeanine, was taken. He wants his government representatives to take their responsibilities seriously.
Is that too much to ask?
In Memory of Jeanine Filiatreault Cressey (1944 – 2009)
“On multiple times I have argued about the dust from this site only to be met with the MOE saying it falls under the responsibility of the MNR. The MNR in turn says it is the responsibility of the MOE.” Ken Cressey
* Notice that the above information has been gathered through private amateur research for the purpose of allowing the reader to make an informed and educated decision. However, while the information is believed to be reliable, accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
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Images of Mr. Ken Cressey’s letters from his blog at link: http://deathanddustmystory.blogspot.com/