By Mike Anderson
The Town of Georgina is taking legal action against two local property owners who have been illegally dumping fill from construction sites on their properties.
According to a Town spokesperson, the owners of 22954 Warden Ave. and 6522 Ravenshoe Rd. have been operating without a permit to dump fill on their property, contravening the Town’s fill by-law.
“The Town’s lawyer has been instructed to bring court applications in which orders will be sought restraining the owners from breaching the Town’s by-law and requiring the owners to remove the illegally dumped fill,” said Tanya Thompson, communications manager for the Town of Georgina, in an email to the Post.
Ross Draper owns the property at 22954 Warden Ave., and 6552 Ravenshoe Rd is owned by a numbered company, 1580524 Ontario Ltd., which is registered to Ronald De Bruin.
Both properties cut across LSRCA regulated areas and are adjacent to wetlands.
The Town’s legal action follows a formal complaint by Alec Cloke, president of United Soils, a large clean fill disposal business in Stouffville.
In an email addressed to Regional Councillor Rob Grossi and Ward 3 Councillor Dave Neeson on April 3, Cloke says that the property owners have been accepting untested fill, mostly from Hydrovac (vacuum) trucks, on a daily basis for years.
Cloke demands the Town take action to stop the illegal dumping of fill, which he says hasn’t been tested for contaminants, which is a provincial requirement.
He also warns that Georgina Town Council could face legal action if the illegal dumpsites were not shut down.
“Town council and senior staff have a fiduciary duty to uphold the legislation designed to protect the public, and you aren’t doing that,” Cloke writes.
Thompson confirmed that the Town had taken previous actions against both property owners, but they appear to have had little effect.
A Superior Court proceeding was filed against Draper, the owner of 22954 Warden Ave., and cease and desist correspondence was sent to De Bruin, the owner of 6522 Ravenshoe Rd.
“What’s happening in Georgina doesn’t involve testing or any of the proper handling methods that the industry recognizes, ” Cloke said.
Cloke told the Post that vacuum trucks must dump their loads at registered fill sites.
However, if the material is determined to be waste, it is immediately diverted to a waste transfer station.
Cloke says that not all material that comes out of a vacuum truck is contaminated, but he says you better be able to prove it isn’t.
He says some vacuum truck operators are trying to avoid the cost of tipping at registered clean fill sites or have contaminated fill that would be rejected.
Currently, only a few facilities in the GTA accept contaminated fill, and tipping fees are considerably higher.
“Nobody should be dumping anything unless the property you are dumping on has a fill license, which we have to get renewed annually,” said Cloke, who constructed an $800,000 facility to process loads from vacuum trucks.
Cloke says there is no value to the landowner to take wet fill from vacuum trucks; he says it’s just a cash grab.
“It costs $300 to dump here, and they’re probably giving the landowner $150,” he said.
Cloke says contaminated wet fill could seep into the water table, impacting residential wells.
He also points out that both properties are sitting next to a protected marsh, threatened by leaching wastewater.
Cloke wants to see stiffer provincial fines for property owners operating illegal dumpsites. But he says it’s up to the Town to shut the sites down. He says the Town should monitor suspected sites 24-7.
“They should be writing down the license plate of the trucks. Recording the time they came in and taking their picture to go after the companies that are doing it,” he said.
“Any truck caught dumping illegally should have their operating license taken away. It would be the end of all this illegal dumping.”
Cloke says there has been too much passing the buck between municipalities, conservation authorities and the province, allowing illegal dump sites to go unchecked.
“The Town is not doing enough to shut this down. It’s 100 per cent the Town’s responsibility,” he said.
“It wants all the benefits of being on Lake Simcoe, all the tourists, all the beaches, all the money. But it’s not doing anything to protect it.”
“If the Town of Georgina, one of the largest communities on Lake Simcoe, doesn’t protect the lake, who will protect it?”
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