Saturday, February 07, 2009

Residents' complaints net convictions, $80,000 fines

Residents' complaints net convictions, $80,000 fines

Complaints from Musselman's Lake residents three years ago have resulted in convictions and more than $80,000 in fines for two companies.John Bolender and his company, Oakridge-Terra Inc., pleaded guilty to charges of operating a waste disposal site without a certificate of approval and must pay more than $50,000 in fines. Mr. Bolender and his company also pleaded guilty to charges of discharging/causing/permitting the discharge of a contaminant, namely an odour, into the environment that causes or was likely to cause an adverse effect."I guess it's illegal," Mr. Bolender said. "I pled guilty to these charges because I didn't have the money to fight it."The co-accused, Turtle Island Waste and Recycling Inc., was also charged with, and pleaded guilty to, the same offences, as well as failing to comply with the company's own certificate of approval. Turtle Island was slapped with more than $30,000 in fines.The pleas were accepted into Newmarket provincial court on Jan. 21.Although Turtle Island pleaded guilty, the company has yet to decide if it will pay the fine or appeal the decision.The fines and charges stem from complaints made by Musselman's Lake residents in 2006. That summer, area residents had the sweet summer smell of roses and freshly cut grass replaced by the strong putrid odour of rotting food from a property on Hwy. 48 just north of Vandorf Road. It was illegally accepting food waste, court was told.The smell was so bad, residents from as far as 1.5 km away were unable to sit outside in their yards, according to court documents.Residents believed they knew the source of the odour but called in Whitchurch-Stouffville Councillor Phil Bannon, who represents that area, and bylaw officer Linda Mainprize to investigate.What the pair uncovered was an illegal dumpsite located at 14547 Hwy. 48, the Bolender and Oakridge-Terra property.Because the situation was beyond the scope of the municipality, the Ministry of the Environment, along with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority were called in to investigate.What they discovered was that between Jan., 30 and Aug., 3, 2006, Mr. Bolender and his company allowed 190 truck loads of food waste, fill and grey waste from Turtle Island to be deposited onto the property. Each truckload contained two to three tons of waste."We were under the impression it was being brought to a licensed facility," Turtle Island co-founder Louis Anagnostakos said this week. "(Our staff) assumed because our competition was going there, it was OK."Turtle Island was contacted by Mr. Bolender, who offered to take the company's food waste onto his property, according to Mr. Anagnostakos, who also noted first contact by a waste facility is standard protocol when seeking out dump sites."Our staff didn't do due diligence in requesting to see documents the owner was a licensed operator," Mr. Anagnostakos said. "Procedures have been put in place to minimize any such future occurrence."Oakridge-Terra was also convicted for an offence under the Conservation Authorities Act because some of the illegal dumping was into the wetland. As a result of the conviction, Mr. Bolender has been ordered to conduct remediation work on the site."It was never our intention to harm the environment at all, we just wanted to substitute our meal ticket," Mr. Bolender said, also admitting he did not know enough about composting, which was what he was trying to do, to reduce the smell and environmental effects.In October 2005, Mr. Bolender did apply for a permit to allow waste disposal for composting. "It turned out the application was so incomplete we returned it and it was withdrawn," said Gary Miller an investigator with the Ministry of Environment.According to Mr. Miller, Mr. Bolender had until June 2006 to re-submit the application. One was never received by the ministry.




http://anotec.com.au

Popular Posts