DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard
UXBRIDGE: The proponents behind an ambitious fill project in Coppins Corner claim that the endeavour could prove to be a model for other such projects around the province.
Rene de Vries of Tetra Tech and Al Durand of RCCAO/Soiil appeared before council at their meeting on the morning of Monday, June 17, on behalf of Green Soils Inc. to provide details of the project. The endeavour would see 500,000 cubic metres of fill brought in to rehabilitate a gravel pit near the corner of Brock Rd. and Durham Rd. 21.
According to Mr. de Vries, the project, which would require 20,000 tri-axle loads to be dumped on the site, would have strict monitoring protocols in place.
"In addition to third party testing of the soil, there would also be auditing of the data done by a consultant hired by Uxbridge Township, with the costs carried by the site operator," explained Mr. de Vries. "As well, there would be an added level of transparency with a GPS tracking system for trucks delivering to the site."
The issue of commercial fill operations has been a hot button issue in North Durham for several years, and was a major issue during the 2010 municipal election in the wake of some controversial projects in the area.
"Uxbridge and Scugog are ground zero for fill coming out of the GTA and both are on the leading edge of soil by-laws," added Ms. Durand. "This is an opportunity to be progressive and manage the future."
Responding to questions from Regional Councillor Jack Ballinger and Ward 5 Councillor Gord Highet regarding a timeline for the project, Mr. de Vries noted that the quick turnaround of Metrolinx transit projects (where the fill would presumably be coming from) make putting a firm figure a difficult task.
"Metrolinx projects seem to move very fast, be it 6,12 or 18 months. So, it can be a sort of moving target," said Mr. de Vries. "There have been no discussions to date, and details would have to be worked out by all parties involved."
Mr. Highet was tepid about the possibility of a lengthy time frame to complete the project, and the effect it may have on nearby residents in Coppins Corners.
"I have concerns with how long this project could drag on for," explained Councillor Highet. "If local residents were inconvenienced for 12 months, they could probably live with it, but not something that drags on for 10 years. I would hate to see this become a real mess with dirt and noise. There should be a comprehensive plan in place before work begins."
Meanwhile, Councillor Ballinger noted that the township already hears complaints from local residents regarding truck traffic, and expressed concern over the possibility of a further 20,000 truckloads making their way to Coppins Corners.
"It's not just the quality of materials going in, it's traffic that concerns me," said Councillor Ballinger. "We already have complaints in that area about the amount of truck traffic and I can't imagine an additional 20,000 trucks going in and out of that area."
Potential issues regarding the monitoring of the site, and the quality of materials potentially being dumped on the site were raised by Ward 2 Councillor Pat Molloy, who was left under whelmed when he visited the site in the past.
"I would hate to see dumping on a whole bunch of garbage. I visited that site in the past and it didn't seem to be very carefully monitored," said Councillor Molloy.
Although Mr. Durand and Mr. de Vries noted many times that the project would serve to rehabilitate the former gravel pit to a state that could one day be home to future development, Ward 4 Councillor Jacob Mantle argued that pit rehab seemed to be an auxiliary benefit to site operators.
"This is not about rehabilitation, that may be a secondary function, but it seems to be more about a commercial project," stated Councillor Mantle.
Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor added that council would not be making any decision on the matter until the township's fill committee had made a presentation to council regarding the project.
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