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Residents push back on Brouwer fill plan in East Gwillimbury
June 25, 2015
By Simon Martin

Is your dirt clean?

That was one of many questions residents raised Tuesday night during a public meeting regarding a potential new fill operation on Leslie Street.

Brouwer Sod Farms Ltd. Wants to fill in a former aggregate pit at 22610 Leslie St., on the west side of Leslie and south of Ravenshoe Road. An application approval would allow for one million cubic metres of fill to be dumped in the inactive gravel pit.

Area residents voiced concern about hundreds of dump trucks clogging up local roads and the quality of the fill drivers will be dumping close to their drinking water wells.

Jason Moore lives on Leslie right next to the site and wondered if his well, which is only 59 feet deep, would be safe from tainted runoff and contaminants.

Moore also raised concerns about the amount of air pollution the area will accumulate from debris being dumped by hundreds of trucks.

The Drinking Water Source Protection map for the Lake Simcoe Watershed has identified the location on Leslie as a high vulnerability aquifer.

But the applicant said its experts performed soil tests at the site and told council there is a large enough natural aquitard or sedimentary buffer in place that it wouldn’t affect area wells.

Councillor Tara Roy-DiClemente reminded the applicant that council has a responsibility to adhere to the source protection plans and abide by all environmental guidelines.

“You need to get the plan changed,” she said.

Queensville resident Katharine Parsons said this is not an issue on which council should bend in the least, adding the site could potentially endanger the health of residents’ wells.

“Do not trade your duty for environmental stewardship for $1 million,” she said, in reference to the amount of money in tipping fees the town would receive from the fill site.

Carmella Marshall from the Ontario Soil Regulation Task Force said there is ample evidence to prove sites such as this that are being filled can and will contaminate well water, especially in a high vulnerability area, adding these operations don’t mix well with established neighbourhoods.

“It is in proximity to a community. These large industrial operations do not co-exist well with the community,” Marshall said.

For its part, Georgina council has passed a unanimous motion to oppose any large fill site at the Leslie location. Due to the site’s proximity to Georgina, ill effects of operation could be felt north of Ravenshoe, the neighbouring politicians said.

The applicant proposes operation hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday that also raised concerns from people in the audience.

Marshall said that’s too long of a day. “The noise can be nothing short of maddening,” she said.

Staff will take a report back to council with its recommendation for the fill site in October.