Minden Hills councillors will vote on zoning bylaw and official plan amendments to allow for the operation of a septage-spreading field off of Bobcaygeon Road at their next council meeting on April 25.
During a public meeting in March councillors heard from a number of area residents who were concerned about issues such as odour and potential water contamination from the facility which would allow for sewage spreading on approximately 18 acres of a 117-acre property north of the village of Minden.
Carnarvon’s Francis Thomas Contracting has secured an environmental compliance approval from the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks for the operation of the site and as Minden Hills Mayor Brent Devolin pointed out this means the site has met all of the ministry’s requirements.
“They look into the minutiae of all the technicality” Devolin said during an April 11 committee-of-the-whole meeting adding there were 34 criteria that needed to be met.
Compliance with permitted uses under local zoning bylaws is not a requirement of an ECA from the ministry.
Features like berms and vegetative buffers must be included and there are monitoring wells on the site as well. The property’s soil depth difficult to find in the rocky terrain of the county is what has made the property the ideal candidate for the company.
“It’s at a depth and a quality we don’t see very much in the whole of the county” Devolin said.
Other members of council remained skeptical.
“So decide when you want to sit outside or even have the windows open in your house” said Councillor Jean Neville expressing concern that neighbouring properties would be inundated by odour.
The closest residences are about 230 metres away from the site.
Planner Ian Clendening responding to concerns from the March meeting that the spreading field would impact a future growth area for the village said that according to his calculations based on its current rate of growth it would take Minden another 225 years of growth before that area would be used for a subdivision.
Clendening told councillors he believed the application represented good planning.
“I believe this is appropriate for the area” he said.
“I think from the public’s perspective we’ve done our due diligence within our authority” Devolin said. “I agree with our planner that this should move forward.”