Armstrong Township is making an amendment to its agriculture zoning bylaw to prevent future storage, hauling or spreading of human waste.

The township held a public meeting July 12 to discuss the amendment and to approve it.

Those wishing to appeal the amendment have until 4 p.m. August 1 to file an appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal through the Clerk of the Township of Armstrong.

The zoning bylaw notice states its intent is to “amend the definition of ‘Agricultural Use’” and to “clarify that an agricultural use does not include the spreading, storage, or hauling to a property of human waste.”

The meeting was attended by a number of residents in the area concerned about an existing waste storage facility in the township on Hilliardton Road where human waste is being hauled to the site. The company carrying out the operation also has Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) approval to spread the human waste.

Prior to this, the town’s bylaw had no reference to human waste haulage, storage or spreading within the township.

Armstrong Township Mayor Jean Marc Boileau explained that the purpose of the amendment is because “we want to prevent another pit starting, instead of talking about it after the license was given, as it was.”

He said the township “never knew” the process through which the previous pit was approved by the provincial government. 

Marie-Lynn Lacasse, who was among the concerned ratepayers, stated that it is believed “there is going to be another application for 2024.”

Roger Lacasse, also with the concerned ratepayers, noted “the human waste is from Quebec.” He commented that if “somebody in Ontario tried the same thing in Quebec it would never happen.”

Marie-Lynn Lacasse questioned if the amendment of the agriculture zoning bylaw in the township would require proponents of a similar operation to come to the township in the future, and whether the municipal bylaw would “trump” a decision of the MECP.

“Unfortunately, the province trumps the municipality,” said Armstrong Township Chief Administrative Officer Dan Thibeault.

However, he explained, “The province has said they require in the process of applying for this pit that you would need to consult with the municipality.”

The amended bylaw would not have retroactive powers either, he also told the gathering.

“Anything that was prior would be grandfathered in.”

Jim Semple, who lives next door to the property where the operation is taking place, asked if the township can determine how much waste is in the existing pit.

Boileau said the township has received an inspection report from the ministry but that information is not included.

Semple suggested that the township should write a letter to MECP requesting that information.

Boileau said the township will request the hauling report that is gathered from trucks bringing the waste to the site.

Councillor Reynald Rivard also suggested the municipality should write a letter to MECP letting them know that Armstrong is aware that a license application is coming up in 2024.

Marie-Lynn Lacasse also recommended that the township should send a copy of its amended bylaw to MECP. She said she believes the renewal date for the permits for the pit operation and related activities is sometime between February or spring 2024.

By Darlene Wroe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 19, 2023 at 08:04

This item reprinted with permission from   Temiskaming Speaker   New Liskeard, Ontario

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated