Business owner asks town to reject moratorium

by Mike Robinson - Wellington Advertiser


ERIN - Councillors here are faced with a catch-22.


On one side, council has faced numerous presentations requesting a moratorium on unregulated fill in the municipality.

Now, to complicate things, a local business owner has stated that if council initiates a fill moratorium, it may face an OMB hearing to justify that decision.

Anthea Larke of Meadowlarke Stables is requesting that council reject a moratorium on fill in the municipality.

In her presentation to Erin councillors on Feb. 4, Larke stated, “I am building riding arenas - both indoor and outdoor. I do not have a fill dump site, I have a facility under construction.”

She provided council with a two-page report outlining the time line of work involved since the April 2011 application and receipt of a permit for a new entrance to her property off Third Line.

She then spoke to the need for fill in order to construct equine facilities.

Larke said she has lived in Erin as a taxpayer for a long time. She said the property she purchased had been a hog operation and neighbours were happy the large volume of pigs were gone.

“I spent nine years cleaning up debris, repairing existing buildings and planting trees.”

She operated Meadowlarke Stables in Mississauga for 34 years where horses are trained for riding lessons, camps and horse shows.

Larke is now in the process of developing the Erin site as a second operation.

“I need the fill to build a riding arena. All the fill coming to my facility has been tested, there is a ticketing system in place to make certain trucks are coming from the tested sites.”

As well, Larke said, there is an on-site supervisor who runs the operations to ensure no untested fill arrives on site.

“I am opposed to bringing in contaminated fill as everyone else is - for moral reasons and a business point of view. People would not want to be riding their expensive horses on contaminated fill.”

Larke said she had willingly complied with every regulatory request and was working with the GRCA to minimize the impact on the areas under their control and expects to be receiving a permit soon.

“I have paid the town of Erin over $15,000 in permit fees,” she added. “I have fulfilled all the requirements of the current bylaw.

“Since July 2013, I have had to deal with angry visits by people living on Wellington Road 50 near the Third Line. I want to live in harmony with nearby residents and have done all I can to address their concerns.”

However, Larke wanted to make it clear that there are other trucks using Wellington Road 50 - “I have no authority over them.” She believed her business and her integrity have been unfairly compromised by the anti-fill group.

“As I have provided ample evidence that my fill is not contaminated, there should be no problem in granting my permit.”

Larke said if the permit is denied, she wanted a written response detailing the reasons for the denial and the legal grounds on which council can veto established policy.

“Considering the time and effort spent on the fill bylaw, when there has been only one permit issued in two years, I consider this to be a waste of taxpayers’ money and staff resources. Without the fill to build my rings, I will be severely limited in my business ... I will have no choice but to go to the OMB.”

Mayor Lou Maieron said “fill is a very controversial issue.” He said there are positives and negatives and council is trying to balance that.

He said that he too would be disturbed if there was a constant flow of noise from trucks.

When asked specifically how many trucks were brought in to the facility, Larke did not have an exact number.

Larke estimated that it was not a hundred trucks per day.

“I’m trying to build an equine facility which is something the town is looking for.”

February 14, 2014




Letter to the Editor - Answer

Answer from Ms Larkin’s neighbours on the 3rd Line AND Wellington County Rd 50


We are neigbhours of Ms Larke who are very upset with her portrayal of events regarding work on her site. (Advocate Feb 12, Applicant says she might have to go to OMB if no permit)

Since the beginning of her work in 2011, we neighbours have been very concerned with road safety on Wellington Rd 50 and 3rd Line (her haulage route), infrastructure (road) damages, constant dust and noise nuisance issues, AND the potential of soil contamination from the large amount of fill she has imported over the past 3 years from various sources.

Among the many claims she made at her delegation to Council (Feb 4, 2014), she has indicated “all fill has been tested…I have provided AMPLE documentation regarding the soil…I want to live in harmony with nearby residents, and have done all I can to accommodate them.”

Fill is a complex issue. The only way to determine contamination is through regular and frequent soil testing at the destination site. If Ms Larke is concerned about contaminated fill, she should be proactive and soil test regularly the 6,000+ truckloads she has brought onto her property (2011-2013). Neighbours have individually and collectively asked to see her soil analysis. She has never obliged and according to Planner Stull, there is one copy on record from her 2011 site alternation permit. One test is not adequate for the thousands of truckloads Ms Larke has imported to date. According to MOE Fact Sheet (April, 2001), one test should be done for every 10-15 loads.

We have asked Ms Larke to meet us and hear our concerns. She could easily put her neighbours’ concerns to rest by making available all the tests her contractor has performed on the fill from “numerous sources”. To date, she has not responded to our request.  As well, we have asked to meet with Planner Stull to do the same but have not heard back.

She says there is a “need for fill for equine facilities” but at what cost? In an earlier letter to the editor (Nov 27 , 2013 Advertiser) she indicated “the long-term economic benefits for the community as a whole outweigh the short-term temporary inconvenience for a few.”  If she had taken the time to consult her neighbours, she would have realized that “the inconvenience for a few” included 25+ of her neighbours. This attitude shows total disrespect for her neighbours’ concerns.  There has been no consultation or consideration of the enormous impact her operation has had on area residents.

We neigbhours are concerned with how fill on her site is being regulated and managed. There was no consultation with GRCA before beginning her project despite proximity to a fragile wetland and tributary of the Eramosa River. Her dump site extends well into the wetland violating conservation authority regulations. She has been ordered to remediate her site and has been operating without a GRCA permit. Already, she is under remediation with GRCA regarding wetland violation and working without a permit. As with any fill site, there is the potential for contamination. If contamination is not addressed, a few years down the road, it will be a major problem, financially and health-wise for us. This is why we neigbhours are vigilant.

We neighbours are not anti-fill or anti-equine facility. We are pro-regulated fill and for  protecting our healthy, country lifestyle.

February 17th, 2014



































































Residents sound alarm as Toronto’s dirt dumped in Wellington County

By Rob O’Flanagan - Guelph Mercurcy - theifp.ca


When new buildings go up in the rapidly growing Toronto area, mountains of material called fill is generated. It has to be transported, stored or dumped somewhere.

Massive quantities of surplus soil, some compromised by petroleum products and industrial chemicals, are finding their way into hundreds of municipalities outside Toronto, including Wellington County.

Those who move the dirt say they are looking further from Toronto for dumping sites, as municipalities within and on the fringes of the Greater Toronto Area put up bylaw roadblocks to outside fill.

A community group based in the Erin area is alerting municipal officials and residents to the growing number of GTA fill dumping sites in their neck of the woods. Thousands of truckloads of the stuff are arriving as Toronto’s building boom continues.

Those in the know say the business surrounding the management of such material is unregulated, and that Ontario urgently needs a single set of rules to govern it. Fill haulers say fill fears are blown out of proportion.

Anna Spiteri is the spokesperson for Citizens Against Fill Dumping. Just over a year ago, she said, an ever-increasing number of dump trucks started rolling across Wellington Road 50 near Rockwood, making their way up 3rd Line.

“And this year we just kept getting more and more trucks,” Spiteri said, adding that upon investigating the issue further the group found the 3rd Line dumping site was just one of many in the vicinity.

A map on the group’s website at www.stopfilldumping.ca shows the location of a dozen sites where GTA fill is being deposited in large quantities. Most of the sites are a few kilometres southwest of Erin. Some are farms where landowners are paid anywhere from $20 to $75 per load — some making a lot of money by receiving hundreds, even thousands of loads.

Spiteri said Erin town council held a public information session on fill in December, in which the damage to roads and bridges from increased truck traffic was identified as a major concern.

“The issue has mushroomed from one particular site, to many,” Spiteri said. “It has increased exponentially within the last three and a half months.”

She said the problem stems mostly from the provincial government’s urban intensification policies, an effort to curtail urban sprawl by encouraging residential projects within existing development. More than ever, former industrial sites are being re-purposed for residential use, and there are vast quantities of soil to move in the process.

At the same time, there is major Toronto subway extension work underway, condominium highrises going up at a rapid rate, and work is ongoing on Pier 27, the site of the Pan Am Games. All of this construction creates surplus soil that has to be relocated.

“Our major concern is that some of this fill might be contaminated,” Spiteri added. “We are not against fill per se, but we are definitely against unregulated fill.”

Gord Miller is the environmental commissioner of Ontario. He said the shipment of material excavated during construction in the GTA is a significant environmental concern. There are no regulations governing the activity, and the potential for abuse is ever present, he said.

Only legitimately contaminated sites are overseen by the Ministry of the Environment because toxic substances have the potential to migrate and affect things such as drinking water, agricultural lands and wetlands, Miller said. When such sites are prepared for new construction the contaminated soil has to be removed and either processed to remove the contaminants or sent to a hazardous materials site.

What is most commonly trucked out of the GTA and distributed throughout outlying municipalities, he said, is clean fill, but also substantial amounts of so-called compromised soil—soil that is acceptable on an industrial site but substandard for a residential site.

While the soil may not be classified as contaminated, much of it is compromised because it contains petroleum products, chemicals or metals. It has to be removed from the site before residential buildings can go up.

The easiest and cheapest way to deal with the dirt is through the “dig-and-dump” method — dig it out and find a place to get rid of it, Miller said. The most common place to dispose of the material is in former gravel or quarry sites that are already zoned industrial. Hosts are paid to receive the material.

Steve Upson is the president of Ashgrove Enterprises, a big player in the removal and relocation of GTA fill. His company has several sites within and outside the GTA where it dumps fill, including in Orangeville. He said the material is being hauled consistently further from Toronto because municipalities are clamping down on the activity.

Upson said contaminated soil was dumped at a site in the east end of the GTA and it threw townships into a panic.

“A lot of municipalities in the area are turning down fill site operations,” Upson said. “They’re under the impression that the material that’s coming out of the city is bad, dirty and contaminated, which it’s not. It’s clean material.”

The movement to stop fill dumping in the east GTA, Upson said, is spreading, and the options for dumping fill are narrowing.

“And it’s all based on fear,” he said. Companies moving fill out of the GTA are looking outside these restrictive communities for dumping sites.

The biggest problem affecting the transport of the material, Upson said, is most former quarry and gravel pit sites in the GTA refuse to take fill. “We have enough gravel pits in the Greater Toronto Area to handle the dirt from Toronto for the next 30 years,” he said.

But without that option, he said his company is already transporting to Barrie and has sites in Alliston, Cookstown and Baxter.

Lou Maieron is the mayor of Erin. He agrees the transport of GTA surplus soil into the municipality has become much more prevalent. “And now it is going into Guelph-Eramosa and Puslinch,” he said.

The arrival of countless dump trucks disrupts the rural lifestyle, Maieron said, and a lot of infrastructure damage is done, costing a municipality untold amounts in repairs. “When you start running 50 trucks a week for two years it gets to be an issue,” Maieron said.

In 2010, excess construction materials from the GTA amounted to between 20 million and 24 million cubic metres, Miller said. The average dump truck hauls roughly six to 10 cubic metres.

Upson agrees there is a legitimate concern around excessive truck traffic and infrastructure damage in rural areas. Most of Ashgrove Enterprises’ fill sites are required to put up $100,000 bonds to offset possible road damage, he said.

Upson said townships are starting to tighten bylaws and monitoring of the activity. Towns are also starting to generate revenue from it by charging permit fees and load fees.

Adrian Foster is mayor of the Municipality of Clarington, east of Toronto. A couple of years ago, he said, a former quarry in the municipality was the site of a major GTA fill dump. The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority approved the operation and there was nothing the municipality could do to prevent it.

“You had a quiet country setting with people who had lived there for many years, waking up to hundreds and hundreds of dump trucks on a daily basis,” Foster said. “The big challenge is in knowing what’s going into the ground, and groundwater protection. And there is huge damage to the roads.”

Clarington eventually passed a bylaw requiring a municipal permit and fees for dumping fill. Unless it is a government contract, no fill from outside of Clarington will be accepted. Since passing the bylaw the activity has tailed off.

Foster said the issue is one of the key topics of discussion within the Greater Toronto Countryside Mayors Association. The consistent plea made to the province is there needs to be a set of regulations governing the practice.

“And if you can sneak in a couple of loads of contaminated fill, that is big money,” Foster added. “Even non-contaminated fill is big money that these guys get for accepting it.”

Ted Arnott is the MPP for Wellington-Halton Hills. He said he has heard concerns about fill dumping from several constituents in the riding. He and others wrote a letter to Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley nearly two years ago, asking the minister to consider establishing an inter-ministerial committee to establish a provincial policy “for the effective regulation of the disposal of this fill,” he said.

A number of ministries, Arnott said, are involved in the issue, and all must be involved in crafting effective policy and regulation. Environment, municipal affairs and housing, transport, natural resources and agriculture ministries should be involved.

Miller said the onus should be on the ones digging the holes to ensure their material is properly dealt with. It should not be on the back of a rural township to cope with the repercussions of trucking and dumping the material.

January 20, 2014


Ontario needs to regulate dumping and hauling of fill

By Editorial   -  Guelph Mercury


It seems what used to be someone else's problem is knocking on our door. And there's no use hiding behind the couch waiting for it to leave, because this problem isn't going away.

The problem in this case is dirt and other materials called fill. The fill originates at construction sites in the Greater Toronto Area and it has to be disposed of somewhere.

Somewhere is often in rural areas surrounding Toronto, where landowners are paid to allow dump trucks to unload the fill on their properties.

This material has to go somewhere. We understand that. But we also agree with concerned citizens in the Erin area who are mounting a campaign to push for provincial oversight and regulations that would help monitor the fill to ensure toxic waste dumps aren't being created in beautiful countryside settings.

For a landowner, accepting fill might seem like easy money at the time, but without regulations you could end up with a bill to decontaminate your property that far outweighs the gains you made from allowing the trucks to dump fill on your land.

Many questions come to mind, including wondering who is responsible for cleaning up a site years down the road, especially if it's in a wetland and the problem shows up downstream from where the toxins were dumped. It sounds like a bill a municipality could be stuck with.

Also a concern for municipalities is damage to roads caused by the flow of heavy trucks loaded with fill. Why should municipalities, such as Erin, be on the hook for road repairs while the companies dumping the fill move on down the road to the next town with willing landowners?

Obviously, as the Toronto area sees more construction and infill developments are being viewed favourably, compared to sprawling further into the country, there is going to be fill generated. It is interesting that the same farmland being protected by rules deterring urban sprawl is potentially going to suffer anyway if the inner-city fill headed its way is dirty.

It is clear regulations need to be put in place that will oblige testing and allow landowners to know what is being dumped is clean. Simply being told the fill is from a construction site in Toronto isn't good enough.

The sooner we open the door and start asking questions, the better off we'll be.

January 18, 2014


Residents sound alarm as Toronto’s dirt dumped in Wellington County

By Rob O'Flanagan  - Guelph Mercury - Orangeville.com


A community group based in the Erin area is alerting municipal officials and residents to the growing number of GTA fill dumping sites in their neck of the woods


WELLINGTON COUNTY—When new buildings go up in the rapidly growing Toronto area, mountains of material called fill is generated. It has to be transported, stored or dumped somewhere.


Massive quantities of surplus soil, some compromised by petroleum products and industrial chemicals, are finding their way into hundreds of municipalities outside Toronto, including Wellington County.

Those who move the dirt say they are looking further from Toronto for dumping sites, as municipalities within and on the fringes of the Greater Toronto Area put up bylaw roadblocks to outside fill.

A community group based in the Erin area is alerting municipal officials and residents to the growing number of GTA fill dumping sites in their neck of the woods. Thousands of truckloads of the stuff are arriving as Toronto's building boom continues.

Those in the know say the business surrounding the management of such material is unregulated, and that Ontario urgently needs a single set of rules to govern it. Fill haulers say fill fears are blown out of proportion.

Anna Spiteri is the spokesperson for Citizens Against Fill Dumping. Just over a year ago, she said, an ever-increasing number of dump trucks started rolling across Wellington Road 50 near Rockwood, making their way up 3rd Line.

"And this year we just kept getting more and more trucks," Spiteri said, adding that upon investigating the issue further the group found the 3rd Line dumping site was just one of many in the vicinity.

A map on the group's website at www.stopfilldumping.ca shows the location of a dozen sites where GTA fill is being deposited in large quantities. Most of the sites are a few kilometres southwest of Erin. Some are farms where landowners are paid anywhere from $20 to $75 per load — some making a lot of money by receiving hundreds, even thousands of loads.

Spiteri said Erin town council held a public information session on fill in December, in which the damage to roads and bridges from increased truck traffic was identified as a major concern.

"The issue has mushroomed from one particular site, to many," Spiteri said. "It has increased exponentially within the last three and a half months."

She said the problem stems mostly from the provincial government's urban intensification policies, an effort to curtail urban sprawl by encouraging residential projects within existing development. More than ever, former industrial sites are being repurposed for residential use, and there are vast quantities of soil to move in the process.

At the same time, there is major Toronto subway extension work underway, condominium highrises going up at a rapid rate, and work is ongoing on Pier 27, the site of the Pan Am Games. All of this construction creates surplus soil that has to be relocated.

"Our major concern is that some of this fill might be contaminated," Spiteri added. "We are not against fill per se, but we are definitely against unregulated fill."

Gord Miller is the environmental commissioner of Ontario. He said the shipment of material excavated during construction in the GTA is a significant environmental concern. There are no regulations governing the activity, and the potential for abuse is ever present, he said.

Only legitimately contaminated sites are overseen by the Ministry of the Environment because toxic substances have the potential to migrate and affect things such as drinking water, agricultural lands and wetlands, Miller said. When such sites are prepared for new construction the contaminated soil has to be removed and either processed to remove the contaminants or sent to a hazardous materials site.

What is most commonly trucked out of the GTA and distributed throughout outlying municipalities, he said, is clean fill, but also substantial amounts of so-called compromised soil—soil that is acceptable on an industrial site but substandard for a residential site.

While the soil may not be classified as contaminated, much of it is compromised because it contains petroleum products, chemicals or metals. It has to be removed from the site before residential buildings can go up.

The easiest and cheapest way to deal with the dirt is through the "dig-and-dump" method — dig it out and find a place to get rid of it, Miller said. The most common place to dispose of the material is in former gravel or quarry sites that are already zoned industrial. Hosts are paid to receive the material.

Steve Upson is the president of Ashgrove Enterprises, a big player in the removal and relocation of GTA fill. His company has several sites within and outside the GTA where it dumps fill, including in Orangeville. He said the material is being hauled consistently further from Toronto because municipalities are clamping down on the activity.

Upson said contaminated soil was dumped at a site in the east end of the GTA and it threw townships into a panic.

"A lot of municipalities in the area are turning down fill site operations," Upson said. "They're under the impression that the material that's coming out of the city is bad, dirty and contaminated, which it's not. It's clean material."

The movement to stop fill dumping in the east GTA, Upson said, is spreading, and the options for dumping fill are narrowing.

"And it's all based on fear," he said. Companies moving fill out of the GTA are looking outside these restrictive communities for dumping sites.

The biggest problem affecting the transport of the material, Upson said, is most former quarry and gravel pit sites in the GTA refuse to take fill. "We have enough gravel pits in the Greater Toronto Area to handle the dirt from Toronto for the next 30 years," he said.

But without that option, he said his company is already transporting to Barrie and has sites in Alliston, Cookstown and Baxter.

Lou Maieron is the mayor of Erin. He agrees the transport of GTA surplus soil into the municipality has become much more prevalent. "And now it is going into Guelph-Eramosa and Puslinch," he said.

The arrival of countless dump trucks disrupts the rural lifestyle, Maieron said, and a lot of infrastructure damage is done, costing a municipality untold amounts in repairs. "When you start running 50 trucks a week for two years it gets to be an issue," Maieron said.

In 2010, excess construction materials from the GTA amounted to between 20 million and 24 million cubic metres, Miller said. The average dump truck hauls roughly six to 10 cubic metres.

Upson agrees there is a legitimate concern around excessive truck traffic and infrastructure damage in rural areas. Most of Ashgrove Enterprises' fill sites are required to put up $100,000 bonds to offset possible road damage, he said.

Upson said townships are starting to tighten bylaws and monitoring of the activity. Towns are also starting to generate revenue from it by charging permit fees and load fees.

Adrian Foster is mayor of the Municipality of Clarington, east of Toronto. A couple of years ago, he said, a former quarry in the municipality was the site of a major GTA fill dump. The Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority approved the operation and there was nothing the municipality could do to prevent it.

"You had a quiet country setting with people who had lived there for many years, waking up to hundreds and hundreds of dump trucks on a daily basis," Foster said. "The big challenge is in knowing what's going into the ground, and groundwater protection. And there is huge damage to the roads."

Clarington eventually passed a bylaw requiring a municipal permit and fees for dumping fill. Unless it is a government contract, no fill from outside of Clarington will be accepted. Since passing the bylaw the activity has tailed off.

Foster said the issue is one of the key topics of discussion within the Greater Toronto Countryside Mayors Association. The consistent plea made to the province is there needs to be a set of regulations governing the practice.

"And if you can sneak in a couple of loads of contaminated fill, that is big money," Foster added. "Even non-contaminated fill is big money that these guys get for accepting it."

Ted Arnott is the MPP for Wellington-Halton Hills. He said he has heard concerns about fill dumping from several constituents in the riding. He and others wrote a letter to Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley nearly two years ago, asking the minister to consider establishing an inter-ministerial committee to establish a provincial policy "for the effective regulation of the disposal of this fill," he said.

A number of ministries, Arnott said, are involved in the issue, and all must be involved in crafting effective policy and regulation. Environment, municipal affairs and housing, transport, natural resources and agriculture ministries should be involved.

Miller said the onus should be on the ones digging the holes to ensure their material is properly dealt with. It should not be on the back of a rural township to cope with the repercussions of trucking and dumping the material.

January 17, 2014



Town to investigate fill moratorium
As published in The Erin Advocate - Erin Insight By Phil Gravelle


Erin councillors continue to hope that the provincial government will bring in new regulations to control fill dumping, but in the meantime will investigate a temporary ban on the practice.

After a lengthy series of questions and comments from members of the public at a special meeting last month, council directed staff to investigate the feasibility of imposing a moratorium on the placement of fill on Town-controlled land. This is in addition to the ongoing review of the site alteration bylaw.

Road Superintendent Larry Van Wyck gave a presentation showing how trucks making fill deliveries are causing serious problems for Erin’s already narrow and fragile gravel roads, including damage to ditches and entranceways, illegal dumping and contaminating the road surface with mud.

“These operations have very little regard for the mess the are leaving,” he said, noting that truckers are blatantly ignoring posted load limits, putting old bridges at risk.

“If one of these bridges falls down because of the heavy loading of these trucks, it will fall on the taxpayers and council to repair the bridge – unless the truck is caught and falls into the creek,” he said.

He said the Town has no authority to stop a moving vehicle, and that it has been difficult to get the OPP involved in this type of enforcement.  He said the Ministry of Transportation has one enforcement officer stationed in Waterloo to cover a large territory.

Van Wyck said that for landowners, the propect of getting paid $50 to $60 per truck load of fill material “often clouds their judgement / awareness of the quality of material they may be receiving.”

Fill affects drainage, he said, because impermeable clay is often placed on top of land that used to allow water to filter through. There is little control over silt and erosion, with potential damage to fish habitat in cold-water streams due to run-off.

Joe Spiteri said he is alarmed that thousands of loads of fill can be placed without any requirement for chemical sampling.

Van Wyck noted that the Ministry of the Environment has no definitions of what constitutes clean or contaminated fill. It does not require testing of material excavated from city development sites, nor a record of where it has been transported.

Resident Dave Dautovich said the Town had failed to “show leadership” on this issue, and said people expect them to work with conservation authorities to protect the land. He suggested a moratorium on fill dumping until an adequate system is devised.

Planner Sally Stull provided a map showing that much of Erin’s geography, especially including low-lying land near wetlands, creeks and rivers, is regulated by the conservation authorities, not the Town’s bylaw. She has noted that enforcement is the real issue, since virtually no one placing fill is applying for a permit to do so.

Mayor Lou Maeiron, who represents Erin on the Credit Valley Conservation Board of Directors, said no one seems to be applying for fill permits from CVC either.

Councillor John Brennan said he would prefer a system in which the Town would regulate fill projects like it does building projects, with the conservation authorities providing comments or objections when sensitive lands are involved.

The local group Citizens Against Fill Dumping has urged the provincial government to bring in consistent regulations on fill, to avoid the risk of contaminated material, to ensure that neighbours are notified of major projects and to provide a protective approval process.

Van Wyck cited one case in which the so-called “Qualified Person” at a firm transporting fill kept soil records that the MOE discovered were “incomplete, inadequate and inaccurate”.

He said MOE standards for cleanup of contaminated sites should not be used for municipal bylaws. Those standards indicate the amount by which pollution must be reduced on dirty sites, not the maximum to which clean sites can be polluted.

“In terms of groundwater, once contaminated it is very difficult and expensive to restore,” he said.

“Short term economic gain does not outweigh the cost of potential long-term environmental liabilities. Therefore, what is the net gain for the town and its citizens in allowing these operations to take place?”

January 1, 2014



Minister won’t commit to regulate fill dumping
As published in The Erin Advocate - Erin Insight By Phil Gravelle


A call for improved regulation of the disposal of fill in rural areas has been given the brush-off by Environment Minister Jim Bradley.

The issue has been high-profile in Erin recently, with MPP Ted Arnott writing to the minister on behalf of local residents, renewing his request for an Interministerial Committee to establish provincial policy and regulations.

“I understand that the Ministry has recently established best management practices for soil management [fill], but would question how these are being enforced and if there is any enforcement at all,” said Arnott in his letter.

Bradley replied that the soil guide was still being finalized “with consideration to all the comments we have received”, and that it will provide “essential guidance” for the Town and Conservation Authorities, which can issue permits for fill. He did not respond to the enforcement question.

“As we move forward, we will evaluate if future actions are needed,” he said, noting that the ministry “encourages the reuse of excess soil for beneficial uses as long as it can be done in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.”

The Town of Erin is in the process of reviewing both its fill bylaw and a proposed guide that would help residents report suspected problems.

The Citizens Against Fill Dumping group is continuing to attend council meetings, and has come out with a brochure to make people aware of their concerns about the impact on the environment, residents’ quality of life and their property values. They also have a web site: www.stopfilldumping.ca.

“The GTA continues to grow exponentially and with that growth comes an increasing demand for places to dump its unwanted excavated material,” the website says.

“The primary concern is that some of this fill could be contaminated. The current bylaws governing Wellington County and Erin are simply inadequate to deal with this issue. They are neither stringent enough to protect the best interests of the Town of Erin and Wellington County residents nor are they rigorously enforced to ensure accountability and transparency.

“We want to convince Town of Erin Council and Wellington County Council to eliminate importation of fill. We want the Provincial government to regulate the Fill industry in Ontario.”
November 13, 2013


Citizens Against Fill Dumping wants commitment to restrict fill

by Mike Robinson - Wellington Advertiser


ERIN - Anna Spiteri and the Citizens Against Fill Dumping are committed to eliminate unregulated fill dumping here.


On Oct. 1, Spiteri formally introduced council to the citizens’ group Citizens Against Dump Filling.
As she thanked councillors for allowing her to appear once again, “We deeply appreciate your willingness to hear, consider and respond to the concerns of town residents regarding this matter.”
Spiteri said the group has evolved from a handful of concerned citizens to a much larger group.
“We are focused on stopping the practice of indiscriminately importing fill from the GTA and dumping it in our communities because of the many negative impacts on our environment, farmland, quality of life and potentially even our property values.”
She said that the GTA continues to grow at a disturbing rate and with this growth comes an increasing demand for places to dump its unwanted excavation material.
That problem has come into the backyard of Erin residents, she said.
“We are alarmed by the amount of unregulated industrial and commercial fill that is being imported into our community - the Town of Erin and Wellington County.”
She explained that both Erin and Wellington County are prime destinations for this fill because of the location immediately north of the provincially designated Green Belt.
Spiteri suggested there is significant financial incentive for people to accept fill and be compensated accordingly, but this practice has significant implications for neighbours, the communities and the environment.
Spiteri said the group wants to raise awareness, to convince Erin and Wellington County councils to ban the importation of fill - except by approval of a variance committee composed of resident and council representatives.
Ultimately, the group wants the province to pass a Fill Act, to rigorously regulate the trucking, export and disposition of fill in Ontario - particularly in rural areas.
“We know municipalities individually cannot solve this issue that has grown out of control.”
She invited councillors or local residents to visit the group’s website www.stopfilldumping.ca and to get to know what the organization is about.
The website is set to officially launch in mid-October.
She said the group has started the process by meeting with Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott to inform him that the local issues are systematic of a the greater problem created by the province’s intensification policy of Places to Grow.
She added that fill needs to be regulated province-wide.
Spiteri added that the group also plans to connect with like-minded organizations across Ontario.
“I want to close by thanking council once again for imposing a cease and desist ruling on the importation of fill into certain sites, and for initiating a full review of the bylaws governing fill importation. You have shown that you are listening and care about residents, the quality of life in Erin and our environment ... and doing what is right for the town of Erin.”
“We sincerely want to be a constructive part of the solution to this mounting problem.”
Councillor Barb Tocher requested a copy of Spiteri’s written commentary.
Mayor Lou Maieron said council has looked at both where the fill is coming from and going to.
He noted that when he started as mayor, local conservation authorities were approving fill permits without informing the town.
“We would only find out when people would complain.”
That situation has changed.
“We’ve agreed with the CVC and GRCA to notify each other regarding permits.”
Maieron did not believe there has been a new fill application made since that understanding was reached.
He suggested that when aggregate businesses are bringing aggregates to these construction sites, that they return with a load of fill from the construction site [which has been checked over].
“The truck is coming back regardless and at the end of the pit’s life there is a big hole which needs to be filled as part of site rehabilitation.”
To Maieron it made sense that the truck would head down and return with full loads.
Therefore at the end of the pit’s life, there is material to rehabilitate the site - and reduce the environmental footprint by not having the truck travelling with no load.
He asked council if it wanted help in this matter.
“But we are still looking at improving the bylaw.”
He asked whether the creation of an ad hoc committee would help - representing both sides of the issue.
Councillor Tocher noted there were a number of requests within Spiteri’s presentation and she’d prefer to see them in writing to better review them.
Tocher said she’d also like to see staff suggestions to the comments as what might be workable.
“But until we have all the information in front of us ...” it is hard to agree on a direction, Tocher said.
In response to councillor Josie Wintersinger’s question on the size of the group, Spiteri said there is a list of 35 members and another 10 who have been involved at one point and there are others she was unable to contact prior to the night’s meeting
“But all of them are passionate about this,” Spiteri said.
“It definitely is an issue out there.”
October 11, 2013


Delegation wants council to say ‘no’ to accepting fill
by Mike Robinson - Wellington Advertiser


ERIN - Residents here have had their fill - of fill.


In recent weeks, the town of Erin has received numerous letters of concern from residents not only about what might be in the fill being accepted on local properties, but the cumulative impacts of the additional  traffic and dust created by trucks hauling the heavy loads down local roads.On Sept. 3 Anna Spiteri and Dave Dautovich spoke to council.
The pair advocated the long-term goal of eliminating fill being brought into the town.“I’m here with many of my neighbours to advise council of the serious impact to the area of fill haulage,” Spiteri said.She had concern with a local property owner who she  said was filling seven to 10 acres of low-lying or wet lands to facilitate construction of a large business in a quiet rural community - all with no consultation or little regulatory oversight.She said the filled-in areas are now being considered for construction of large-scale riding arenas.“The intention appears to be to create a large scale equestrian centre comparable to the Angelstone operation,” Spiteri said. She questioned whether the town is properly monitoring fill that is being brought in to the community.She said there are potential environmental impacts from countless town sites where commercial and industrial fill are being dumped. Spiteri said there are also concerns about this being done with little concern for the enormous impact on area residents. For her, the red flags go up when she hears that on some properties there is no idea of how much fill is coming in, or where it is coming from. Haulage trucks travel along Wellington Road 50, which in some parts of Erin is a hilly, gravel road, with some very curves she described as dangerous.“There, the speed limit is 80km/h, an unreasonable speed for anyone travelling. It was not designed as a truck haulage route,” Spiteri said. “This situation is intolerable for residents  of Wellington Road 50 and the Third Line.“It has forced us to mobilize with a petition. In the past few months, we have experienced up to 150 trucks per day.”She added the environmental impact of covering large acreages has not been monitored. Spiteri noted in the area where she lives, six fill operations have been, or are, taking place.“At least two of them were shut down due to environmental issues. As long as the GTA continues
to build, it will need a place to dump its fill.”That creates tempting opportunities for landlords to make fast money, but it results in long-term negative impacts to the community, she opined.“Erin needs a tougher fill bylaw, and we need it to be rigorously enforced.”She asked council for a list of all permitted fill sites or those in the process of making an application to import fill. She also wanted the chemical analysis of the fill materials to be made available to the public. Dautovich said the rumoured value of accepting fill is $60 per truckload.“There is no doubt with the development of Brampton and Mississauga moving towards us, they need a place to dump their garbage.” He contended the town’s current fill bylaw is not sufficient.“It is a weak bylaw and even as a weak bylaw it is not being administrated properly.” He suspected fill is already being placed in wetland areas.Dautovich said if Erin gets contaminated and this information goes viral, “good luck with the good reputation of the town.”Mayor Lou Maieron said one of the reasons council was in-camera earlier that night was to get legal advice prior to responding to concerns raised.“As a result, we cannot address your matters further this evening,” the mayor said.

September 20, 2013















CTV NEWS presenting the issue with dirty fill - by Max Wark - VIDEO

The Advocate - February 12th 2014