September 23, 2021 - A/H Council Decision Re: Cobourg Sand & Gravel Application for Severance

This is a summary of the Council discussion on the Cobourg Sand & Gravel application.
 
PLANNER JENNIFER CURRENT: As of this morning, the owner Cobourg Sand & Gravel did not have any information as to whether there was a significant source of aggregate on that property.
It is important to remember that we are not talking about an aggregate extraction license application, this is an application to sever for purpose of lot addition.
You can sort of seeing where it’s going though.
Any application to expand the licensed area beyond the existing license, it will require an Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment.
There is a provincial ground water monitoring well located on the property, access to that well will be lost. So unless the applicants or the owners agreed to allow continued access through the aggregate pit, or over an easement to allow access to that well, LTCA has indicated that the well would need to be decommissioned and closed.
The well is not required as a condition of the aggregate operation. It is monitored by LTC on behalf of Ministry of the Environment.
Planner Current read Pilgrim Poultry Farm opposition letter out loud at the request of the writer. (The letters can be viewed below.)
Jennifer Current went on to thoroughly and accurately summarize the concerns raised by residents, of which there were many. Impact on environment & water, potential for future contaminated soil being imported into the pit and loss of agricultural land are the three major concerns in broad terms.
I reached out to Weston Consulting last week regarding the condition of an undertaking. The company has concerns with that, because of rehabilitation of the pit requiring fill to be imported. It was determined by MNR that there was no need to bring in fill to the existing pit in order to rehabilitate, that there was enough material onsite to do that.
 
KEVIN BECHARD: Speaking on behalf of Cobourg Sand & Gravel. At this point, we cannot agree with Condition #7. The request that I have is that we defer discussion of this application, in order that we may have further dialogue on the importation of fill on the site. If they grant that request, we would be available for the next meeting.
 
MAYOR GAIL LATCHFORD: LTC not having access to the well, can they not come across the other property? It would be an advantage for Cobourg Sand & Gravel and to the farm that the well continue to be monitored. Is that something that could be added as a condition.
 
CURRENT: It could be, but they would have to apply for an easement over 206 Lilac Valley Road, so if the property changes hand, the LTC has legal access. If MNR were to receive an aggregate license application, they would look at that…
 
GRITT KOEHL: Supported suggestion by Mr. Bechard to defer application for further discussion regarding Condition #7. Also emphasized that this is of critical importance to the residents.
 
COUNCILLOR MIKE FILIP: Supports protecting our water resource. It was my understanding and Councils that there was adequate resources to rehabilitate the pit, so I am not sure what changed there that would require the import of clean fill. Until we’ve had this deferral and have clarification on that, my question for the company and for deferral are “What’s changed?” He also expressed that perhaps the license process should happen first.
 
LATCHFORD: Jennifer, your recommendation through #7 is that you want an undertaking. We are not dealing with the license yet. How common is that?
 
CURRENT: Nothing is common about this. Cobourg Sand & Gravel did commit to adhering to the fill by-law, and they did say there was enough material to rehabilitate without importing fill. Applications for aggregate extraction pits are notoriously controversial, and the only application that is more contentious is an application for a new land fill.
If they go through the licensing process, and they determine that there will be a need to bring fill onto the property, that could be part of that process. Then the undertaking could be amended to reflect that at the time.
 
LATCHFORD: Should #7 be worded to be discussed during the licensing process? If fill is required to reclaim that property, so can we put something in there that the business could actually request that if fill is needed, they could come back to Council for that request.
 
CURRENT: I prefer the wording I have in my report, over what was submitted yesterday afternoon by Cobourg Sand & Gravel. I believe the applicant’s agent is looking for deferral, so that could be looked at.
 
COUNCILLOR GREG BOOTH: Who would pay for the decommissioning of that well?
 
CURRENT: MNR has contracted LTC to maintain and look after these wells. It would be LTC that would hire a contractor to decommission the well, and ultimately the MNR would pay for it.
 
BOOTH: Is the stop order still in effect for the owner not to import fill?
 
BECHARD: I do not have direct knowledge on that.
 
BOOTH: My comment then is that the residents have raised some very good concerns. I take exception that in 2020 when Cobourg Sand & Gravel came to us requesting to purchase the unopened road allowance, that they would provide an undertaking, and we have not received that. Is that correct Jennifer? They had one year time frame to meet these requirements, so has that sale gone through?
 
CURRENT: The purchase has gone through. We did not receive the undertaking though.
 
BOOTH: I would agree to a deferral, because there are some very good concerns raised by the residents, and from what I see Cobourg Sand & Gravel has not met their obligations, and that’s been proven a year ago, and we find out now that they have not done that undertaking.
 
DEPUTY MAYOR SHERRI GIBSON: Motion to allow Richard Scott to speak.
 
RICHARD SCOTT: The point that I really want to make was raised by Councillor Booth. The letter received from Cobourg Sand & Gravel to not import fill was actually submitted prior to the Council decision to approve the sale of the road allowance, and that is what Council based their approval on.
 
GIBSON: I do not have a lot to add to the very good comments by my fellow Councillors, and there are a couple of things I would like to raise. There is not timely communication with C S & G, and they have not followed up on the conditions. I also think it is important to continue the monitoring of the well. I also feel that we need to defer, because #7 is important. This has left an unsettled feeling with respect to our interaction with Cobourg Sand & Gravel.
 
LATCHFORD: I can attest to the water quality in that area. We were the choice out of 11 places for fish habitat monitoring, because we have perfect water. That is something that the neighbours need to be concerned about. Mr. Bechard, I don’t know if you know that, but that is well known in that area.
 
MOTION to Defer. CARRIED

September 22, 2021 - A/H Residents Oppose Application for Severance

Background

Beginning in January 2018, I became involved with a dedicated group of A/H residents, who live in the area of the Pit, located on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Their major concerns are about source (drinking) water protection and a company that purchased an end-of-life pit, only to begin dumping "wet" fill into the Pit. The residents immediately reported this to the Township and the MNR and MOE. Their efforts resulted in the company being forced to stop dumping by provincial authorities, and that stop is still in effect.

Today's Planning Application AH 15-2021

The next step by Cobourg Sand & Gravel is to sever a piece of active farmland from the residence and outbuildings on a parcel of land abutting the Pit. Details are contained in the following report and will be discussed at today's planning meeting.

AH 15-2021 PLANNING REPORT

Planner Jennifer Current is recommending that Council approve the application with certain conditions. Note #7 of those conditions addresses in part the concerns by residents regarding the future use and potential expansion of the aggregate pit operation.

Excerpt from the Report:

Recommendation

That Application AH 15/2021 by 2554163 Ontario Inc to sever a parcel of land for lot addition purposes in Part of Lot 32, Concession 9 Geographic Township of Haldimand, is hereby approved subject to the following conditions:

  1. That a registered survey for the severed parcel be submitted to the Township.
  2. Further to the printed Plan of Survey: A closed polygon vector file of the Part boundaries shown on the Reference Plan is to be provided in spatially referenced Autodesk DWG Windows-readable format to the satisfaction of the Township. It is recommended that the applicant’s Ontario Land Surveyor consult with the County of Northumberland GIS Section to confirm acceptable standards and formatting.
  3. That a draft transfer for the severed parcel be submitted to the Township.
  4. That the tax account for the subject property be paid up to date.
  5. That the severed parcel be deeded as a lot addition to the recipient property and the applicant’s lawyer submit an undertaking to register a consolidation on title, giving effect to the lot addition.
  6. That the applicant’s lawyer submit a legal opinion verifying that the lot addition lands will merge on title with the recipient parcel under the Planning Act.
  7. That the applicant submits an undertaking agreeing not to import any fill onto the property and that this undertaking be implemented through a development agreement to be registered on title. The cost of the preparation and registration of the development agreement shall be at the expense of the applicant.
  8. That parcel(s) of land measuring 17 meters wide fronting County Road 9 as measured from the centerline of the road along the retained and severed lands be conveyed to the County at no cost to the Municipality or County for road widening purposes to the satisfaction of the County of Northumberland.

(end of excerpt)

Opposition Letters

In response to this Application, residents have once again been spurred to action and submitted letters to Council. Here is a link Resident Opposition Letters

Summary

Why is this application to sever land and add to a lot so important? Is this is just another step by Cobourg Sand & Gravel to potentially apply for a license to expand the Pit operation? Reality: the piece of land in question is being actively farmed; there are no significant aggregate resources on that particular piece of land as far as public knowledge goes.

Which begs the following questions.

  1. What is the real intent of this company, which is located in Vaughan (not Cobourg)?
  2. Why did they purchase an end of life pit?
  3. Is the company planning to dump their hydro-vac waste from operations outside of A/H into a pit that is located in a rural township?

Thank goodness for the eagle eyes, diligence and perseverance of A/H residents. Their efforts to protect our drinking water and Township are to be applauded.

Gritt Koehl

Here is the latest update from the group September 2021 Update: Consent, Severance & Gravel Pit Expansion 
 

January 6, 2020 - Alnwick/Haldimand - To Deny, or not Deny - That Is The Question

Here is the latest update from the Resist the Pit Group 2020 Update on Road Allowance Closure Application

November 27, 2019 - A/H Application To Close & Sell Municipal Road Allowance To Pit Owners

Weston Consulting, on behalf of Cobourg Sand & Gravel, has once again applied to purchase an unopened road allowance associated with a pit in Alnwick/Haldimand. It should be noted that there is no such company in Cobourg - the  company is actually located in Vaughan.

Alnwick/Haldimand Council denied this same application in September 2018.  Area residents have been actively opposing illegal dumping and pit expansion for the past two years.

Despite this history no notification was provided to these residents regarding this issue, other than through the posting of the Agenda on A/H Website.

Here is a map showing the property in question. 

Figure 4   Extract From Schedule B 01

The reason the company gives for supposedly wanting to purchase the road allowance is to expand the aggregate operations into the adjacent property.  As the map clearly demonstrates there are NO significant aggregate resources on that land (farmland), so what is the real reason for this application? 

FACTS: The former Gilchrist pit is at end of life and new owners were dumping hydro-vac waste from Vaughan in the old pit.

Ministry of Natural Resources put a stop to the dumping early in 2018 (stop order still in effect) after these same A/H residents raised concerns. Please see the attached update from this group.  Resist the Pit November 2019 Update

May 26, 2019 Alnwick/Haldimand Proposed By-law To Prohibit Dumping Of Contaminated Materials

There is concern regarding the dumping of materials being brought into Alnwick/Haldimand from outside the region. The reason for the concern is that this practice if not properly controlled will endanger drinking water supplies. Alnwick/Haldimand residents have investigated neighbouring Township By-Laws and produced a draft comprehensive Fill By-Law. Please read the attached Notice and let your Councillors know that you are concerned about protecting your drinking water. Contact information is included.  Notice Regarding Proposed Fill Bylaw

May 2, 2019 - Draft By-law To Prevent Illegal Dumping

There is growing public concern regarding dumping of materials being brought into municipalities from outside of the region. Residents from A/H, Brighton and Cramahe have raised concerns to local Councils during the past couple of years about this growing problem.

The following CBC News article from August 13, 2018 exposes the lucrative business of illegal dumping, and gives credence to citizens’ concerns.

CBC News Article About The Business of Illegal Dumping

Most municipalities have site alteration by-laws in place, but they do not address the importing of fill. There have been several incidents of fill being trucked into and around townships without notification, which is in violation of existing site control by-laws. A permit is required and a fee paid for dumping of fill at any site. It has fallen to residents to bring the problem of illegal dumping to the attention of township Staff/Council. Furthermore, site alteration by-laws do not deal with “what” type of fill, or “where” the fill comes from, and that is a major concern.

At last week’s A/H Planning Meeting a draft By-law to Control the Importing of Fill was discussed at great length by Council.

Councillor Mike Filip spoke in support of Council adopting the proposed by-law, which would deal solely with importing fill into the Township. It would complement the Township’s current Site Alteration By-Law No. 46-2012 and not to replace it. Filip offered the following comments regarding the proposed by-law:

  • deals solely with importing fill into the Township
  • sets out various exemptions to ensure that the Township’s needs are met, as well as to accommodate projects around the Township
  • it allows for future exemptions to address contractor needs to bring fill from a neighbouring municipality in conjunction with By-Law No. 46-2012
  • current site alteration by-law does not regulate where Fill comes from and does not apply to pits and quarries licenced by the MNR.

Councillor Filip went on to note that a number of Municipalities (including Clarington) have passed by-laws to prevent fill being imported into those municipalities, in response to concerns as to the type and source of the fill being imported.

Filip pointed out that municipal/provincial governments do not have the resources to monitor and test all fill being imported into the Municipalities. Companies are charged with self-testing of loads. He felt that it is necessary to have this by-law to prevent the Township from having to be the watchdog and count on other people to shut down illegal dumping activities in all pits going forward. He stated that we need to look after our own backyard and this by-law will give us the authority to prevent dumping of things we don’t want in our Township. He went on to say that importing of fill will still be permitted, just make sure that it is done in conjunction with the site alteration by-law and the proposed by-law.

Councillor Filip also spoke of conversations he had with officials from the MOE and the MNR, and they both suggested that the Township could pass a by-law prohibiting the importation of fill. To support this position, the Municipal Act (Ontario) provides the following:

  • Section 11(2)7 – A lower-tier municipality and an upper-tier municipality may pass by-laws, subject to the rules set out in subsection (4), respecting the following matters…economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality, including respecting climate change.

Filip talked about the duty of the Township to protect the environment and its residents, noting the provincial ministries only become involved after a problem has arisen. Filip believes that the Township should be pro-active on this serious issue. To quote:

“I would rather have a by-law in place that says “We have certain restrictions about dumping in our township, and they are “these”. It prevents unconscionable others from bringing stuff into our township, whether it’s today, tomorrow or in the future.”

Deputy-Mayor Gail Latchford spoke to opposition by the public over applications for gravel pits, saying that those types of applications always fill Council Chambers. She was concerned about discouraging future business. She went on to say that “these pits have to be filled and leveled”.

Councillor Filip responded that he is not concerned about the business of gravel extraction, “We all need gravel”. The proposed by-law has nothing to with gravel extraction, but everything to do with the dumping of unwanted and/or toxic materials.

Filip reiterated that other municipalities have already passed by-laws restricting fill. He wants to make sure that there is a standard in place that will dissuade people that are just looking for places to dump stuff. He pointed out that there are businesses that are 'in the business' of dumping difficult waste.

There was more discussed, but in the end, Council voted to seek a legal opinion regarding what their rights are.

One point that Deputy Mayor Latchford made needs to be clarified. Exhausted pits do not have to be “filled and leveled.” They do need to be rehabilitated to reasonable slopes as determined by the MNR regulations. Pits in general have enough existing material to allow for rehabilitation and extra fill should not, in most instances, be required.

This is a serious matter for all of us. Alnwick/Haldimand (in fact all municipalities in Northumberland County), has significant environmentally protected areas, including the Oak Ridges Moraine, lakes, rivers and natural wildlife habitats. Our drinking water comes from these areas, and it is imperative that we do everything in our power to protect these areas from possible contamination. Controlling the dumping of unwanted fill is essential to protect our environment and to ensure safe drinking water.

If you are interested in what has led to this proposed by-law being brought forward, please take some time to read the information below

Also take a moment to email each of our Councillors indicating your support for a by-law to control the importing of fill into your township. Email addresses as follows:

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September 27, 2018 - Alnwick/Haldimand Council Does NOT Approve Closure of Road Allowance at the Gravel Pit

This is information from a report prepared by Gritt Koehl:

A Motion to Approve a By-law before Council at today's Planning Meeting, to close & sell a road allowance that runs between the gravel pit and adjacent farmland, was defeated 3 to 2.

Deputy Mayor Gail Latchford put forward a Motion to APPROVE the By-law. Councillor Ray Benns seconded it just to get it on the floor for discussion.

Benns proceeded to say that A/H residents have many concerns regarding the pit operation, including dumping, as well as the possibility of future expansion of the pit. He also believes that Council should share those same concerns. He understands that the pit license falls under MOE and MNR regulations, but he also felt that not selling the road allowance would NOT prohibit the pit owners from pursuing their operation. Benns stated that it is known by the township that the gravel from that pit is of poor quality, and not suitable for township use. Councillor Benns' wish was to defer a decision until more information was received from the pit owners.

Councillor Mike Filip spoke next and said he was not comfortable with approving the road closure after receiving new information. MOE has said that there is adequate fill existing in the pit to rehabilitate the slopes to acceptable levels. His question was "Why do we need more fill?" Filip expressed his concern over testing of loads being dumped, and does not feel that the MNR has the resources to guarantee that all fill/loads will be free of contaminants. He reiterated that the gravel in that area is of poor quality.

Councillor Sherry Gibson agreed with the positions stated by Councillor Benns and Filip. She also suggested that Council become more knowledgeable about the roles and responsibilities of the MOE, MNR and the Township with respect to pits and potential dumping.

Deputy Mayor Gail Latchford stated that all of the above should have been discussed prior to today, that the application has been in the works for a long time, and it doesn't look good as a council to not approve the by-law. She said "We will end up in court!"

Mayor John Logel said that Hydrovac companies exist in A/H, and that A/H does have a Fill By-law in place.

Latchford refused to change her motion from "approve" to "defer", so in a recorded vote the Motion to Approve the By-law was defeated.

Yay: Mayor Logel, Deputy Mayor Latchford

Nay: Councillors Benns, Filip, Gibson

September 10, 2018 - Alnwick/Haldimand Residents Continue Efforts to Control Dumping at an Oak Ridges Moraine Gravel Pit

Concerned residents have respectfully and repeatedly requested A/H Council to act and amend its By-laws to protect all the lands of Alnwick/Haldimand Township. The current Council of Alnwick/Haldimand Township has not acted on these requests. On September 20, 2018 Council will be considering an application to close an unopened road allowance adjoining a gravel pit. Local residents are concerned that this will allow expansion of the existing pit and will allow the current pit owners to once again start dumping Hydrovac industrial waste from the city of Vaughan.  The issue is protection of drinking water originating in the Oak Ridges moraine.  Citizens are encouraged to write to Council expressing concern about this situation.  Information regarding recent developments is available here September 2018 Update On Gravel Pit Issue

June 26, 2018 – Alnwick/Haldimand Gravel Pit Issue Returns to Council

Weston Consulting has submitted a letter to Council on behalf of Cobourg Sand & Gravel purporting to address the concerns of residents regarding the Oak Ridges gravel pit. 2018-06-15 Weston Consulting Letter to Council

Gritt Koehl has written to Council asking them to review the provincial mapping implications as well as the “No Dumping” Clause in the agreement of purchase and sale of the property in question. 2018-06-25 Gritt Koehl Letter to Council

Letters of concern were also written by Alison Howard and Rick Scott. 2018-06-26 Alison Howard Letter To Council  2018-06-26 Rick Scott Letter to Mayor Logel

This issue comes before Council on Thursday, June 27, 2018 at 12:30 pm.

March 26, 2018 - News Coverage of Gravel Pit Delegation

Karen Longwell is the News Editor for the Northumberland News. You can read her article on the Pit delegation here Northumberland News Article on "Resist the Pit" Delegation 

March 22, 2018 Gravel Pit Delegation to Alnwick/Haldimand Council

The group opposing operations at the Oak Ridges Drive gravel pit presented a delegation to the Alnwick/Haldimand Council meeting on Thursday March 22, 2018.  The spokesperson for the group was Alison Howard.  Over the course of a 20 minute presentation, Alison voiced the group's concerns about what was being dumped into the pit and the potential impact on gound water and the Oak Ridges Moraine watershed.  She also raised concerns about the application to close a road allowance that would allow expansion of the current pit into the adjoining farm land. The delegation concluded with a number of requests for action by A/H Council.  Mayor Logel thanked the group for their delegation and indicated that Council would need to meet to discuss the matter.  The presentation can be viewed here Resist The Pit Delegation

March 14, 2018 Gravel Pit Delegation to Alnwick/Haldimand Council

The group opposing operations at the Oak Ridges Drive gravel pit have announced that they will be bringing a delegation to the Alnwick/Haldimand Council meeting on Thursday March 22, 2018 at 12:30 pm.  Details of the delegation are available here Delegation Regarding Dumping and Gravel Pit Expansion

February 13, 2018 - A/H Public Meeting Re Pit Dumping & Expansion (Oak Ridges Moraine)

On Thursday, February 8, 2018 a meeting was held at Fenella Hall in Alnwick/Haldimand about a gravel pit located at Oak Ridges Drive and Lilac Valley Road.  This was an opportunity for local residents to meet the owner of the company that purchased the pit and ask questions about what was being dumped in the pit and the company's plans for expanding the pit. A summary of the meeting was prepared by Gritt Koehl and is available here A/H Meeting Re Gravel Pit Operation and Plans

Background

Residents in Alnwick/Haldimand have expressed concern about the operation of a gravel pit on Oak Ridges Drive.  They question “suspicious” materials being dumped at the pit and are concerned about the potential for future pit expansion.  Residents have organized a “Resist the Pit” movement in order to raise awareness about what is happening. Ultimately they are hoping to protect the watershed in the area.  Read more about this issue in this document A/H Dumping and Gravel Pit Expansion