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Brock council denies developer permission to burn, citing environmental concerns

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

BROCK: The Township of Brock has decided not to allow a Beaverton site developer to burn invasive plants they found and cut down on site.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, May 19th, Brock councillors discussed a request, from Best Homes’, to burn Buckthorn trees found on site of the 200-unit development on Thorah Concession Road 5.

“They spread like wildfire, and if you don’t remove them, they just come back,” the development’s engineer Abdullah Gulzar explained to councillors.

Best Homes’ engineer felt the best and safest way forward was to burn the materials so they don’t spread in the municipality. “Our concern is this type of material has to be burned on site,” Mr. Gulzar said.

However, councillors felt strongly the developer needed to find a different solution.

Ward 1 Councillor Michael Jubb questioned if the materials could be disposed of in an industrial wood chipper.

“We have considered that option. Unfortunately, the thickness of the stem for this invasive species is less than five millimetres. For a chipper to come in, a chipper actually needs a bigger stem. The contractor has told us it would get stuck and damage his machine,” Mr. Gulzar responded.

Councillor Jubb suggested using an excavator mulcher to grind up the materials and then to have the materials buried. Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble made a motion to deny the request for an open-air burning permit at this site.

“At this time, I don’t feel comfortable recommending open-air burning in the urban areas. It’s having a significant impact on our residents. We’re having a lot of complaints. The smell is fairly horrendous, regardless of what way the wind is going. We do have environmental concerns as well,” she stated.

Ward 3 Councillor Walter Schummer agreed this wasn’t the best method for the health of the local environment.

“We are trying in Brock, the best we can, to deal with environmental issues. It’s never cheap, it’s never free. We are starting to incur costs for it. I think it’s understood [burning] is probably not the best way to do it,” he said.

Council later unanimously passed Councillor Doble’s motion.

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