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Council wants more information before deciding on pit infilling

by Mike Robinson

ABERFOYLE - Councillors here are looking for a lot more information before considering a proposal to bring fill into the former Martinello Pit.

Robert Cooke Trucking Inc. recently applied for a permit to import fill to that pit. Gravel was extracted from the site between 2002 and 2005.

Progressive rehabilitation of the site was anticipated to be done in 2007, and the company’s understanding is no extraction or rehabilitation has happened since then.

Under the proposed infilling project, MTE [More Than Engineering] consultants would act as the on-site environmental site assessment and do the ecologist report to ensure fill quality is maintained and there is no in-filling in the Grand River Conservation Authority regulated part of the site.

At the Jan. 4 meeting, councillor Wayne Stokley cited council’s walkabout of the site and discussion if the site elevations are confirmed after the site rehabilitation.

Stokley said council was uncertain if the current elevations are confirmed prior to any other work being done on the site. “We were not too sure where the groundwater was [in relation to the site as it exists now]. Has anything been done to establish the proper site elevations for that area?”

Mayor Dennis Lever remembered council discussing that issue as well.

“At that time, the Ministry of Natural Resources did not have an answer, and had not done a survey to ensure the finished rehabilitation level was, in fact, what was outlined in the plans.”

Lever said council could ask for a survey of the property as it is now.

Clerk Brenda Law asked if Stokley was looking for the elevations prior to extraction - or current ones.

Stokley said there was a site plan done prior to gravel extraction, “but from what I understand, once they did the rehab in the area, there was no standard or elevations taken again to determine where the groundwater was located. There has been some change to groundwater in that area because of the weather.”

Stokley said if there is the potential of fill coming in, it is important councillors understand where the groundwater is located before proceeding.

Law did not have an immediate answer for him.

Lever said one of council’s concerns is nobody had surveyed the property to see if the final  site elevation was in fact what it was detailed to be within the rehabilitation site plan.

“Someone will have to go in there to determine the elevations of the property.”

Stokley asked if the property owners could make that happen.

Law believes it would be best to have the township’s engineer Stan DenHoed, of Harden Environmental, do the investigation of the plans and elevations.

Law said she would make him aware of council’s concern.

Lever added the elevations were only one of the site issues brought up in the past.

As for bringing in landfill, Stokley agreed there was talk of using fill under Ministry of the Environment standards, but there must be a means to ensure those standards are maintained.

“I think we’ve had these concerns and other areas have had these concerns,” he said. “There may be standards which have to be followed,  but who is responsible to make sure those standards are maintained, and who would do the testing and monitoring to make sure the standards are followed?”

He added, “There is still a grey area as far as I’m concerned.”

Law said with the application, everything would need to be spelled out. Law said that it appears MTE is taking on that responsibility.

“But generally speaking each application must be taken on its own merits,” she said.

Stokley wonder if a peer review is needed.

Lever said council first needs to hear DenHoed’s response to the MTE letter.

He said MTE is stating that DenHoed’s concerns have been addressed, “but we haven’t heard back as to whether that is the case or not.”

Plus, he added, council does not know if additional concerns have cropped up in the meantime.

Lever anticipated the review of the application will result in further feedback from DenHoed.

The mayor had also contacted other municipalities to see what they had done in similar circumstances.

Those directions can be reviewed by the township consultants to draft a process that councillors feel will protect the residents and the land.

Law noted the application had not arrived until the day before Christmas, so there had not been a lot of time for a thorough review for the Jan. 4 meeting].

Lever said, “Last fall, our direction to staff was that nothing could be issued without council’s approval. So it’s coming back to us. We’re far from the end on this.”

January 13, 2012


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