By Chris Pickup
Haldimand has slammed the brakes on truckers who found kinks in Haldimand’s site alteration bylaw that enabled them to dump fill in the county from outside sources without permits.
The alarm was raised by Rainham Road residents who watched in dismay as 100 loads of fill were dumped on local property beginning two days before Christmas.
“Calls were coming in all over Christmas” said councillor John Metcalfe, whose constituency it is.
His concerns triggered a special meeting of council in committee January 14 where staff speedily addressed the issue in an amended bylaw brought before council for approval Wednesday.
Council was told Haldimand is not unique. As surrounding municipalities who had experienced the same problem enacted more stringent bylaws against dumping fill, the perpetrators simply moved on to another county.
In order to add more teeth to the Haldimand bylaw the onus is now on property owners, who will have to apply to the county for permits for dumping fill on their land, instead of relying on the veracity of those bringing in the fill.
In order to get a permit landowners will have to jump through several hoops including a description of the fill, a detailed description of the source, the quantity and the proposed placement of the fill, and a site plan as to all lot lines, existing storm sewers, ditches, creeks, watercourse and wetlands, existing buildings, and the proposed haul route.
They will also have to certify the fill contains no contaminants within the meaning of the Environmental Protection Act and forever and unconditionally release and indemnify the county from liability which may arise in the event the fill does contain contaminants.
There are several exemptions related to properties already under approved site plan or building permit agreements, approved septic disposal systems or approved grading and drainage plans.
Councillor Stewart Patterson had some concerns.
“I understand the logic,” he said of the amended bylaw. “But I don’t want to handcuff county contractors and businesses who are abiding by the letter of the law.”
He wanted to wait on immediate approval of the bylaw and contact those people for their input.
However, “Properties are falling in the cracks and it wants to stop right now,” said mayor Hewitt. “If we don’t follow suit with other areas we’re going to get everyone else’s crap from the GTA.
“We’re forced into this by those thumbing their noses at us.”
“There’s a site north of us at Waterdown having to clear contaminated soil. We don’t want that (kind of thing) coming here.”
Council voted to immediately approve the larger part of the bylaw while empowering staff to consult local contractors, hopefully within two weeks.