/Residents oppose sewage spreading field 

Residents oppose sewage spreading field 

By Chad Ingram

Published March 21, 2019 

filled Minden Hills council chambers for a public meeting on March 14,
many expressing opposition to an official plan and zoning bylaw
amendment application for the operation of a hauled sewage spreading
site off of Bobcaygeon Road. 
As a
report from township planner Ian Clendening indicates, the subject
property, a total of 117 acres, borders Bobcaygeon Road north of Scotch
Line Road. Just over 18 acres of that property would be used for the
ground spreading of hauled sewage. The application, from Carnarvon’s
Francis Thomas Contracting, is to rezone the property from rural
designation to a site-specific rural exception zone that would allow for
the proposed use. 
Last summer, after a
45-day public input period, Thomas Contracting received an
environmental certificate approval from the Ministry of Environment,
Conservation and Parks for the operation of the site. That ECA expires
after two years. For a period last summer, haulage was spread at the
site, until the company was informed by the township it was not a
permitted use under the property’s zoning. 
planner Doug Carroll, representing Thomas Contracting, told council and
members of the public at last week’s meeting, the company began looking
for a suitable site for sewage spreading as far back as 2003, but that
Haliburton County’s topography, with plentiful bedrock and water bodies,
makes finding a suitable site difficult. 
a result, most of the candidate sites did not meet the criteria of the
MOE,” Carroll said. He explained that after various environmental
constraints laid out by the province had been mapped and tested on the
property, it left the 18-acre section as suitable for the purpose of
spreading under MOE guidelines. 
constraints include requirements such as a minimum depth of permeable
soil, setbacks from water bodies and so forth. Carroll also explained
the grade of the spreading area had to be graded to three per cent or
less, soil berms had to be created in required areas around the outer
limit of a wetland on the property, and that a vegetative buffer has
been planted to act as further mitigation of surface water runoff if
runoff was to go off the surface of the spread field. 
Under the conditions of the ECA, the spread field can be operational between May 1 and Nov. 30. 
that period, Carroll explained, the groundwater must be sampled three
times, the results of that testing filed with the ministry. 
“They shut them down if they don’t comply,” he said. 
voiced long lists of concerns from noise and increased traffic in the
area, to, especially, odour and potential contamination of area water
bodies in a public meeting that lasted an hour and a half. 
the property are the headwaters of “Beaver Creek, or it might be more
helpful if we refer to it as the elephant in the room,” longtime
Mountain Lake resident Don Benson told council. The creek eventually
flows into the Gull River.  
present, the Minden Hills zoning bylaw does not permit a septage
disposal and treatment use on this proposed site, for a reason,” Benson
Howard Clarke, president of the Mountain Lake Property Owners’ Association also spoke. 
here to express our concerns and opposition to the proposed disposal
and treatment site,” Clarke said, adding the association saw the
proposed use as a danger to the community. 
there are over 37 occupied properties that are less than 600 metres
from the area,” he said. “Also, the distance from the centre of the
field to the Minden [Hills] Cultural Centre is measured at 3.3
kilometres. So remember, if you will on this winter day, those hot,
steamy days of summer, temperatures in the 30-Celsius range, with high
humidity, and wind patterns changing by the hour. You can imagine the
awful smell of human excrement wafting through the noses of those 37
property owners, In addition, winds out of the southwest will blow this
horrible smell towards Mountain Lake and its surrounding area. Winds out
of the north will turn the town of Minden into a stinkpot as the fetid
air will be  trapped in place by the surrounding Minden Hills. Is this
what we want as a community, in our efforts to promote year-round
tourism and future business enterprises for the county?” 
number of residents said they didn’t think the monitoring requirements
laid out by the MOE were sufficient, and did not adequately monitor
surface water. Residents of the area of Scotch Line Road, where Minden
Hills’ main landfill is located, said that between the landfill and
sewage spreading field, they feared for the value of the properties. 
“Who do I call when I get an odour problem?” asked Clayton Cameron. “Do I call you, Mr. Mayor? Do I call the ministry?” 
There were also several references to the Walkerton tainted water disaster throughout the meeting. 
Jean Neville said that she’s lost faith in the MOE, which has in the
past ignored recommendations from the township’s planning department. 
Pam Sayne said council needed to think about the implications of
climate change and its effect on the area’s water levels. 
“Climate change moves fast . . . and governments move slow,” Sayne said. “And that’s a real tragedy in the waiting.” 
A further report from Clendening incorporating public feedback and with additional information will come back to council.