| Feb 14, 2008

Feature Article - February 14, 2008

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Feature Article - February 14, 2008 From the concrete pad to the compost heap By Jeff Green

Last year Central Frontenac Council faced opposition from ratepayers near Kennebec Lake as it considered and ultimately accepted a proposal to establish a portable concrete facility on Hwy.7.

But judging from submissions made by a vocal group of people at a public meeting before Central Frontenac Council on Feb 11, opposition to concrete could be nothing compared to the controversy that is brewing over a plan to establish large-scale composting at the south-eastern edge of the township. Those protesting the plan live the vicinity of the proposed composting facility.

Casey Shea, of Shea Construction and Earthworx Landscaping Products of Kingston, is seeking a zoning amendment on a 47-acre piece of land his family owns on the Westport Road.

The current zoning for the land allows it to be used as a “leaf and yard waste composting facility where the wastes originate from the municipality”. The land is currently being used primarily as a source of topsoil and sand for sale in the Kingston market.

The company would like to establish a composting facility on the site to handle what are called “source separated organics” from the City of Kingston, and possibly the townships of South and Central Frontenac.

The first bureaucratic hoop they need to jump through is a zoning amendment. The proposed wording for the amendment would say that “permitted uses shall be limited to a composting facility for the processing of source separated organics.” This would allow the company to seek a change to their Certificate of Approval from the Ministry of the Environment, and once that is in place they will be in a position to pursue their goal of handling all of the brush, yard, and organic waste from the City of Kingston.

“This will pretty much make my property worthless,” said one neighbour, and another complained that the timing of the proposal excluded seasonal residents from the process. Others were concerned about potential noise and odour issues.

Many of the concerned residents live on 13 Island Lake, which is located 3 kilometres from the site.

Casey Shea attempted to put the residents, and members of Council, at ease by explaining how the facility would be operated. The first point he made was that the material that would be trucked to the site would be comprised of only yard waste, brush, and organic household waste.

“We are in the dirt business, not the waste business,” he said, in a subsequent interview with the News. “We propose to do large scale composting, using wind rows that are six to eight feet wide and six to eight feet tall. The temperature inside the rows will be between 50 and 60 degrees centigrade. It is a living process, producing an end product that we can sell.”

The company manages two sites for the City of Kingston, and Shea said, “Even today, when it is minus 19, the temperature of the wind rows at our Kingston sites are at 50 degrees.”

If the facility is approved, about 2 acres out of the 47-acre site will be used at first, and no matter how much the business grows the company would be limited to 12 acres for their operation. Shea said the company is hoping to be able to explain their plans to their neighbours and hopes they will be satisfied once they have been informed about the process.

They will have an opportunity to explain their case in more detail to Central Frontenac Council.

At the suggestion of Councilor Frances Smith, the township deferred the zoning request, and asked the company to prepare a detailed site plan.

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