Plan to recycle asphalt, concrete at pit raises concerns among neighbours

Consideration of a zoning amendment to allow an asphalt and concrete recycling operation has been deferred to allow planning staff to consult with Ministry of Natural Resources officials on the MNR’s role in monitoring potential for groundwater contamination.

Moorefield Excavating has applied for a zoning amendment to permit the additional use of recycling asphalt, concrete, bricks, etc. in a small existing gravel pit on Concession 17 near Wellington Road 109.

An area of just under a half-acre would be used to stockpile the material, which would be blended with sand and gravel.

Wellington County manager of planning and environment Mark Van Patter said the company, which purchased the property within the past year, would like to provide the local area with recycling of asphalt, concrete, brick and similar materials, which would be crushed and blended with sand and gravel on site.

Van Patter said Jerry Roubos of  Moorefield excavating anticipates the local area might be able to generate 3,000 to 5,000 tonnes of used material to recycle annually.

Once the aggregate on site has been depleted, no further recyclable materials will be permitted on site. The pit is currently licensed for the extraction of 30,000 tonnes per year, which is, Van Patter noted, “quite small compared to other pits in the county.”

Van Patter noted the Wellington Federation of Agriculture, in a letter received “fairly late in the day,” indicated concern the project “likely has a high potential for groundwater contamination.”

The planner said he was “fairly sure,” such concerns would be monitored by the Ministry of Natural Resources, and asked council for time to consult with the ministry.

Roubous said his company’s proposal would meet ministry requirements regarding groundwater issues.

“We have reviewed those  requirements as well and our site plan will reflect what the ministry is asking. We feel that we’re up to speed on that, and we’re following what they want.”

While noting the use complies with provincial policy, Van Patter said the current Mapleton zoning would not allow it.

He added he didn’t foresee any “negative impacts” from the proposal.

“They’re proposing to generate three to five thousand tonnes of this material and, really, generate a place where  we can get rid of this stuff.  Otherwise it ends up in a land fill which we  don’t want,” said Van Patter.

Mapleton resident William Hinks, who lives adjacent to the site on Wellington Road 109, pointed out “bringing in foreign material significantly increases vehicle traffic and  creates a situation that is certainly somewhat dangerous.”

Hinks said the potential health impacts of recycling foreign material “are of utmost concern,” adding “it is very possible, even probable, the property in question will likely become a dumping site  in the future.”

He added, “I question whether an extensive investigation has been conducted to the satisfaction of all concerned.”

Another neighbouring resident, Kevin Kidnie of RR4, Arthur, asked if any hot mixing would be done on the site.

While stating, “I don’t have any problem with any of the more inert items,” Kidnie said hot mixing could generate odour problems and increase the possibility of water contamination.

“We don’t foresee ever putting any hot mix facilities here. The site is not big enough for that, we’re not in that business, so no, we will not put a hot mix plant there,” replied Roubous.

Councillor Dennis Craven asked if the company’s plan was to restore the lands for agricultural use once the project was completed.

Roubous explained, “The pit, as it is now, has turned that area into a pond basically. So, no, there will be no covering of the area.”

Craven also inquired about the potential term of the project.

“Your plan is not to bring any aggregate in? You’re going to use what’s there then your recycling plan would  be over?”

“That’s correct,” replied Roubous.

CAO Patty Sinnamon suggested that in light of the planner’s request, council “hold the bylaw in abeyance” until Van Patter has a chance to report back.

“We have every belief that the applicant is doing the right thing but we just have to make sure everything is taken care of,” said Mayor Neil Driscoll.

Van Patter said, “The Ministry of Natural Resources, in their own due diligence, have to be concerned about what’s happening with the groundwater.”

Roubous replied that he feels groundwater concerns, including those presented by the WFA, are misplaced in this case.

“I know in the past Mapleton’s been involved in a project or a site where there was asphalt buried. We’re not proposing to bury asphalt, we’re proposing to recycle it,” he stated.

“The process  of  recycling has been going on there as long as I can remember –  not by the books I guess. We’re trying to be above board here.”

“We appreciate the fact that you are trying to be above board,” said Driscoll.

Council agreed to defer consideration of the amending bylaw until Van Patter’s investigations are complete.