SCUGOG: According to CAO Bev Hendry, township staff will "do their homework" while reviewing an application for the reactivation of a sizable fill operation on the north side of Townline Rd.
The application came before councillors during a committees meeting earlier this week. According to a report by Public Works director Ian Roger, the application for the Townline Rd. property will seek to truck in 165,000 cubic metres of fill in order to level out the property and make it more conducive to farming. The project will be done in two phases, the first being the portion of the site within the township’s jurisdiction and the second requiring a permit from the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA). According to Mr. Roger, a permit based on the agreement between the township and the Greenbank Airport is being considered, including the same fee structure of $1 per cubic metre to be paid to the township. A request of up to 200 trucks per day was made by the applicant.
Phase one of the project is expected to last between two and three years, with the total project running up to five years.
Proponents Gregg Bird, who owns the site, and supporter Dwayne Freeman also appeared before councillors to discuss the operation. According to Mr. Bird, the site - which has operated on and off since 2007 - will be accepting fill mainly from sources in Durham, such as from construction projects in Brooklin, citing the example of Mr. Freeman’s Hwy.12 fill receiving site. In addition, trucks will be coming from the southern end of the Region and the site will be closed on both weekends and during the half-load season in the spring.
"We want to set an example – ‘look at those guys, they did it right,’" said Mr. Bird, explaining that he is interested in both making money from the operation as well as providing a good example for other such sites. "We’ve been contacted by the big companies, who want to give us a bundle of money to walk away, but we don’t want that," said Mr. Bird. "We want to make some money and pass it along to the township."
Given the township’s experience with fill operations, such as the Earthworx Industries site (shut down in 2011) and Greenbank Airport, councillors had many questions.
The Townline Rd. site was shut down previously by Scugog’s Roads department, following complaints from a neighbour on the Whitby side of Townline Rd.
Ward 1 Councillor Larry Corrigan, who represents the area of the township in which this project and Greenbank Airport are located, raised the issue of public perception.
"We have some cynicism about rationale, whether for farm improvement versus a fill operation," said the councillor. "How would you convince the public?"
Replied Mr. Bird:
"I invite anyone to look at the site’s topography," he said, stressing the desire to use the site for crops once dumping is finished. "Bringing in fill is a revenue creating business, but when that’s finished, although farming doesn’t bring in as much money, it gives me the opportunity to use that land, as well as usability and salability of farm."
Should it be approved, Mr. Roger later stated that given both the extent of the project and his existing workload, the township may be required to hire a contract employee to manage the township’s dealings with the site.
Although the report stated that the application could return for approval by council on Dec. 2, Ms. Hendry later indicated that it could be later, citing the need for proper consideration of the application, including consultation with the Town of Whitby on the project.
"If we have to do our homework, we're going to take our time," said Ms. Hendry. "It may not come back on Dec. 2 (for approval)."