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Proposed large fill site enrages north councillors

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Councillors in the city’s north are kicking up dust over a proposed large fill site.

Whitby-based company Hard-Co Construction is seeking the city’s permission to use Wilson Road, north of Columbus Road, to access its property at 3440 Wilson Road North for the proposed fill site.

In a letter directed to commissioner of development services Warren Munro, Hard-Co vice-president Larry Harding notes while the section of Wilson Road is “presently unimproved,” the company is willing to improve it to gain access to the property.

Oshawa Ward 1 city and regional councillor John Neal told The Oshawa Express he is worried about the environmental impact of the proposed project, as well as the possibility of heavy trucks in the area.

Neal says in these types of sites, companies usually bring in what is left over from new developments, and there is “very little top soil” left.

He noted there was a similar operation just north of Columbus Road for years that is no longer active.

Continuing with his environmental concerns, Neal said there can be runoff into local water sources, which run into the Oshawa Creek, all the way down into Lake Ontario.

Neal raised these concerns to Munro during the Nov. 4 council meeting.

He asked who would be responsible for checking local wells in the area to make sure no contaminants leak into them if the fill site is approved.

The veteran councillor is also concerned about the potential of heavy truck traffic.

There have been such issues in the past, but Neal said “we’ve curtailed it pretty well.”

However, if this project moves forward, he worries the problems will start again.

“The roads or the intersections are not built to withstand these heavy trucks,” Neal said.

Ward 1 city councillor Rosemary McConkey agreed, noting the company didn’t reveal the route it plans to get the fill to the Wilson Road location.

McConkey was also concerned residents in the area had not been notified of the company’s intentions.

“This is a repeat of past problems,” she said.

Lastly, Neal questions why the City of Oshawa does not have a bylaw stating only fill from within the city can be brought to these type of sites.

“Why do we have to accept fill from all these municipalities while they are able to pass bylaws saying no Oshawa fill?” Neal asked. “Can we possibly stop accepting fill from everyone?”

Munro said Neal was asking “valid” questions, and he wants to bring a “fulsome report” on the issue back to council.

Neal raised the issue again during a meeting held on Nov. 5 regarding Oshawa’s strategic plan for 2020 to 2023.

He asked the city to include a recommendation that no large fill sites be allowed in the city.

However, his recommendation was voted down eight to three, with only Neal, McConkey and Ward 3 city councillor Bradley Marks in support.

McConkey said she didn’t understand why it there wasn’t support for the measure.

She noted if the proposed fill site goes through it will have a “negative impact” on Ward 1 residents.

“When you get calls when it begins to impact your residents you’ll understand better,” she told her colleagues.

Ward 5 city and regional councillor Brian Nicholson said there may be a time when the city could potentially ban such fill sites, but he’d like to hear the staff report and feedback from the public first.

Neal said he didn’t understand this, as in his view everything is “dumped” in the north end, will end up in the south end of the city in Lake Ontario, and clean up efforts near the harbour will be a waste of taxpayers money.