It’s been since July 2012 that A.F. Gelhar Co. filed a conditional use permit with Waupaca County to open an industrial sand mine.
I would like to believe that during this lapse of time there were studies completed about water, air, noise, traffic … those health issues we expect government to pay attention to. But no, there has not been one study done since the permit was considered nor any done since the zoning committee approved the conditional use permit.
To their credit the committee did list 25 conditions for operation. Unfortunately, the committee did not provide any method of enforcement should these conditions not be followed.
In other words, someone will have to make a complaint and then someone will follow up. But, who will that be? The sheriff’s department or the DNR or someone with authority has been mentioned but not confirmed.
In the meantime, Preserve Waupaca County members wait and watch.
The Waupaca Foundry was put up front as needing this silica sand to remain competitive. Yet the foundry has continued doing well with their current sand supplier for the past 18 months. In the meantime, more and more of this quality sand is found in existing quarries, plus the foundry is recycling their own sand. So one has to question if the Gelhar mine is as critical as first proposed.
The jobs argument lost its punch when people realized that the local lumber company, Dennisons, would close and more than a dozen jobs would be lost. Then we find all the trucking would not be local because the foundry would be contracting with Flash Trucking from Green Lake.
Preserve Waupaca County has appealed the mine’s conditional use permit and as time passes it becomes more and more obvious this mine is not needed.