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Soil spill to be cleaned up

'It's bone dry during the wettest spring that we've ever had on record, the most snowfall, the most flooding events we've had in the area since 1979'

Soil excavated from the new casino site is being dumped in a field nearby and some has entered a drainage ditch that feeds into Lake Nipissing.

That raised a couple of concerns with Jennifer McNutt-Bywater of Callander.

"It started a couple of days ago when I rescued two snapping turtles crossing the road into their homeland (a field on Pinewood Park Drive), Then I saw a bulldozer mowing down all the trees and a dump truck dumping all this soil. Today the mound grew and grew and grew."

McNutt-Bywater is concerned that all this soil has been dumped over turtle habitat and cutting off the migratory path of the turtles. She also is concerned with the soil getting into the ditch, which has water flowing in it, which in turn feeds Cooks Creek, LaVase River and into Lake Nipissing.

That's also a concern for Paul Goodridge, an Ontario land surveyor and land use planner hired by the numbered company land owner to investigate the issue.

"It's clean fill from the casino site," he told BayToday. "They needed somewhere to bring the fill."

The landowner is allowing the soil to be dumped as fill, with an eye to the future development of the property.

Goodridge says no permit is needed as long as the soil is being dumped 30 metres outside the wetland area, and having just walked the property, reported that this was the case.

"Definitely anything here is well outside of what would be a wetlands classification, he explained."

The soil entering the ditch, however, is a different matter.

"Unfortunately some of this got dumped too close. We should be 30 metres back from here and the owner has been made aware of that. They are going to be pulling it back and placing silt fencing as well to make sure there is no siltation into the ditch."

What has been dumped on site will remain, but Goodridge says alternate sites on the property are being examined where they know it won't be close to the wetlands. That's what Goodridge is going to determine and flag out for the owner.

The property is about 22 acres in total running along Pinewood Park Drive, the former site of provincial weigh scales and before that, farmland.

"It's bone dry during the wettest spring that we've ever had on record, the most snowfall, the most flooding events we've had in the area since 1979," said Goodridge.

Meanwhile, Sue Buckle from the North Bay Conservation Authority says that organization is also investigating. the site which is a regulated area and includes wetland.

"it was noted that there was fill being placed there without a permit," she said in an email to BayToday. "Our staff was down there late this afternoon looking at the site to see the extent and location of the fill. That property owner has been asked not to place any further fill until he applies for and is issued a permit. During the process for reviewing an application for fill in a regulated area, the applicant is advised to consult with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks with respect to any possible species at risk concerns. "  

The Casino is also required to put up sediment fence to control construction sediment from reaching Cooks Creek on their site.  

"They hadn’t, we reminded them, and I  believe that the sediment fence is now in place," said Buckle.

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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