Ontario Construction News staff writer
The City of Hamilton has banned trucks from dumping out-of-town soil within city limits.
Council held a special meeting late last Wednesday night to approve a bylaw amendment prohibiting local dumping of any fill excavated outside the city. The new rule is effective immediately and is in response to reports of a last-minute rush by GTA developers to off-load fill on local farmland.
The rare emergency vote was needed because residents have reported an “exponential increase” in the number of trucks dumping on local farmland, said Stoney Creek Councillor Brad Clark.
“We’re talking about hundreds of trucks,” he said. “If we wait, we’re basically lighting a neon sign that says, ‘Bring your fill to Hamilton before we change the rules.'”
Clark says the issue impacts not just Flamborough, but many areas across the rural Hamilton, including in upper Stoney Creek.
Rural councillors say formerly productive farmland is covered in gravel-laced fill, trucks are causing hazards on busy roads, and nighttime dumping is an issue.
Clark says Hamilton is becoming even more of a “target” now that other surrounding municipalities are cracking down with their own dumping rules.
One farm property on Kirk Road had been receiving 125 truckloads of fill a week until the city recently pulled the landowner’s site alteration permit.
Conservation authorities, rural residents and Hamilton councillors say the fill comes from large condominium and residential construction sites in the GTA. Brokers arrange trucks to take loads of soil from Toronto to willing rural Hamilton properties, where landowners are paid to have it spread on their land.
The by-law prohibiting and regulating the alteration of property grades, placing or dumping fill and the removal of topsoil was amended to address the issues.
It includes lands which are submerged under any watercourse or other body of water and prohibits dumping fill “that has been excavated from and removed from a location that is outside the City of Hamilton.”