Back to HomeFeature Article - December 8, 2011

South Frontenac Council

By Wima Kenny

Portland Waste Disposal Site Subject of MOE Concern

Council received a letter Nov 22 from Chris Raffael of the Ministry of the Environment, expressing some strong concerns about the Portland Waste Disposal Site (WDS), which is the largest site in the township and the one that the township is counting on to ensure the townships waste can be handled locally in the coming decades.

Raphael’s letter contains some stark language - “Sampling results from the annual reports...have shown that the landfill operation at this site is having an unacceptable impact on local ground and surface water quality...this site is not conducive to landfilling activities. Water quality at this site has been shown to be unacceptably impacted and benthic monitoring has shown that the benthic community (organisms living on the lake bottom) within the wetland is likely impacted by the landfill. Water quality within the wetland also exceeds thresholds known to be toxic to aquatic organisms. It is anticipated that landfill impacts to surface water will continue (and likely increase) if landfilling continues at this site.”

The letter concludes by asking the Township to respond by January 13 with an action plan “listing the steps that will be taken to address the ground and surface water impacts at the Portland WDS.”

In addressing the issue, Public Works Manager Mark Segsworth did not seem overly concerned.

He began by saying, “The reality is, we’re dealing with a waste disposal site on the edge of a wetland.”

He added that his department is developing a contingency plan: they have already moved the fill area back from its former location. He reminded Council that the testing shows that provincial water quality standards are being met at the property line (which was further extended by a land purchase in May ’10.)

Segsworth says that he believes the township is managing the site to the best of their ability, adding that his department will continue to work closely in cooperation with the MOE.

Councillor McPhail pointed out that the letter had sounded speculative in the phrase “is likely impacted.”

Councillor Bill Robinson attributed the problems with the ministry to the decision to bring in waste from regions other than Portland, an issue that he fought against several yeas ago.

Council’s response to the MOE will be discussed at the January 10 meeting.

Approved Budget Comes in at 2.98%

Council will be levying $12,170,752 from ratepayers (up from $10.9 million last year) to cover costs this year. Of that, $7,579,254 will be spent on Capital projects.

Because of the more than 8% increase in the township’s tax base, due mainly to new development in the township (6%), along with MPAC’s 2% rise in overall property values, the budget impact on the average residence will be an increase of only 2.98%. Although Council can proceed to implement this operating budget in January, approval of the total budget will have to wait until final information is in from the County and the Board of Education. That is expected in February.

McDougall Appointed

John McDougall was sworn in as Deputy Mayor for 2012. As is the custom, the deputy mayor’s position rotates over the four-year term of Council between the councilors from each district who received the greatest number of votes in the municipal election.

John McDougall replaces Mark Tinlin from Bedford District.

Committee Meeting Minutes Late in Arriving

Council received a year’s worth of minutes from the South Frontenac Recreation Committee, and the Public Works Services Committee’s minutes from May’11. When asked why such a backlog, CAO Orr replied, “There was a failure to communicate.”

Holiday and January Township Schedules

Township offices will be closed from noon Dec 23, to January 03. For non-statutory holidays during this time, staff will be using vacation or lieu time.

There will be no Council meeting Jan 3: the schedule will be shifted forward by one week, eg. Council: January 10&24, Committee of the Whole: Jan 17&31.