Update on large-scale soil dumping in Ramara
Both the Ramara Township and the City of Kawartha Lakes Fill Bylaws were updated over the past month, as each of the municipalities’ response to addressing the spreading problem of large-scale soil dumping. So far the protective measures of these Fill Bylaws have never been implemented and it is increasingly foreseeable that there isn’t any intention on the part of the municipal councillors or staff to ever apply and enforce the intent of these Fill Bylaws.
Unfortunately the Fill Bylaw revision/update process was a fairly costly, stop gap distraction on the part of the City of Kawartha Lakes and Ramara Township councillors to avoid actually dealing with the underlying problems of ensuring municipal staff are capable and willing to apply and enforce the Fill Bylaws.
Stories and first-hand witnessing of large-scale soil dumping continue unchecked in both the City of Kawartha Lakes and Ramara Township jurisdictions before, during and after the municipal election. The precedents have been solidly set in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Ramara Township where it is common knowledge to go ahead with large scale soil dumping projects without concern for Fill Bylaws or associated permits, thus the protective measures of the Fill Bylaws are being totally ignored.
Most councillors will claim that due diligence was exercised on their part and as far as most of them are concerned the impression is given that uncontrolled large scale soil dumping doesn’t exist. There is a pervasive and prevailing legacy of complacency toward our natural environment in Ontario, which is being irresponsibly condoned and enforced by the elected officials we are counting on to protect all our interests, and secure an environmentally sustainable future.
Links to the Ramara Township council meeting audio files for Monday, November 5th & Monday, November 11th.
2018 11 05 COW Council Meeting Audio File
2018 11 12 Council Meeting Audio File
At the Monday, November 5th Ramara Township COW council meeting the Planning & Development Services portion of the agenda was chaired by Deputy Mayor John O’Donnell.
Part 4.3 of the meeting agenda was to be a ‘Discussion regarding consideration of obtaining a legal opinion in making proposed Fill Bylaw retroactive.’ To use the term retroactive is of course a ridiculous twist of the facts. By simply taking the time to read both the original version and Mr. Dorfman’s revised version of the Ramara Township Fill Bylaw the conclusion is easily reached that the original Ramara Township Fill Bylaw was always capable of providing the necessary protective measures that would have prevented the uncontrolled large scale soil dumping activities that have now become a repetitious occurrence in Ramara Township. The only real problem that ever existed with the Ramara Township Fill Bylaw is the will on the part of Ramara Township to apply and enforce our Ramara Township Fill Bylaw.
John O’Donnell pointed out to the council that it was the same consultant Mr. Dorfman that was asked by Ramara Township council to finally answer a letter dated April 16, 2018, and he repeated what Mr. Dorfman had recommended “In this case, a Site Alteration Permit should not be issued. Unauthorized fill should be ordered by the municipality to be removed” There was virtually no discussion on the part of the council members and they very quickly voted (No) or against requesting a legal opinion to follow their consultant’s recommendations.
It was pointed out that of the three locations (1131 Concession RD 5, CON 4, LOT 2 site, and the two Simcoe County Road 169 sites) there had been stop work orders issued for two of the locations, and despite this the Ramara Township Fill Bylaw has still never been used. It was also pointed out that the same exemption continues to exist in the most recent version of the Ramara Township Fill Bylaw that was used on two known occasions to circumvent the protective measures of the original Ramara Township Fill Bylaw. The Mayor and the council members were asked when they ever expected the Ramara Township Fill Bylaw to be applied and enforced. This resulted in no reply and a collection of blank stares from the majority of council members, especially the Mayor.
We really didn’t expect to receive a smarter response from the Ramara Township council that has blatantly allowed the term large-scale soil dumping to become synonymous with the name Ramara Township, but we are limited to going through the process.
There was going to be a focus on completing a request for investigation to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, however the provincial conservative government has recently announced the elimination of the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, which has existed over the past 25 years.