Qs FROM CONSTITUENTS: DO YOU SUPPORT A FILL BY-LAW?
This blog series explores some of the questions I have been asked by Grey Highlands' constituents. This post reviews the need for a Fill By-Law.
I understand Grey Highlands did not establish a bylaw for imported soil materials from outside Grey Highlands. I feel that our Municipality is being taken advantage of. Chatsworth has a bylaw, so instead they dump in Grey Highlands. Your position as a Councillor ?
I also received the following related question.
I am emailing you this morning regarding the landfill/dirt dumping just off Wilcox lake road near Hwy 4 that has been on-going for more then the last 2 years - this is a major concern for the majority of homeowners/cottage owners on Wilcox Lake. Knowing that you are living/farming near Ceylon I am sure you are also aware of this. Many community members have been complaining about this for over a year and it is frustrating that there seems to be no answers or even concern from any of the current administration. I do not know if any of this landfill/dirt has been tested considering its proximity to Wilcox Lake which is a protected wetland and the entire community on the lake draw their water from their own wells. What are your thoughts on this issues? Do you have a plan to address this landfill dumping?
There are provincial regulations led by two ministries. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks controls the management of excess soils. This is a good summary of both best practices and regulations, which does include testing. This regulatory framework works in conjunction with the Ministry of Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy that manages excess soils on farms. Municipalities are allowed to make these regulations more restrictive.
I feel the Provincial regulations (which is all Grey Highlands currently relies on) allow for more fill to come in then I am comfortable with. Council met in Committee of the Whole (COW) on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 where the Chatsworth Fill By Law, as well as other municipalities, was discussed at length. In the end, this was the resolution (which is more restrictive than Chatsworth's), I put forward.
That the main motion be amended by adding the clause "That the by-law brought forward include providing an exemption for fill below 300m³ in a 12 month period."
This By-law has gone to legal review, and will come back to the next Council. I am hoping before the end of 2022 (the first Council meeting isn't until December) or the beginning of 2023 considering there isn't a lot of 2022 left!
In summary, I fought hard as a Councillor to have a Fill By-law that protects our land and water, but is amicable for farmers. As the Mayor of Grey Highlands, I will ensure this gets back to the Council table to become a enforceable By-Law.
See my post, Running for Mayor: Smart Growth for more details.
See all the questions I have been asked throughout the 2022 Campaign!