'This is amateur hour': Fill application further delayed from missing information

·4 min read

A contentious fill application from a Mono resident continues to stretch on as council awaits more information.

“We need to move on; this has gone on way too long,” said Coun. Sharon Martin. “We don’t seem to be getting what we need to make any kind of decision about anything.”

The application is to bring in clean fill for the building of a horse training track on Paul Ritchie’s property on 4th Line.

But along with issues of illegal fill brought in prior to approval in 2019, there have also been delays in compliance with the fill removal order and a number of contamination, noise, and other concerns from neighbours.

At their Oct. 27 meeting, council reviewed the report on the applicant’s compliance with a fill removal order, discovering that a number of documents that had been requested to confirm were not received.

Town chief administrative officer, Mark Early, was directed to ask for the rest of the documentation or explanations as to why it wasn’t available.

But at their Nov. 10 meeting, several councillors felt what they had received in response was less than adequate.

“This is amateur hour; I am beyond disappointed,” said Deputy Mayor John Creelman. “It’s the dance of the veils. We keep asking for information, we get a little bit, then we get a little bit more and we’re not getting any answers.”

Several types of documentation were outlined in the compliance order that could demonstrate the fill had been properly removed: waybills, truck logs, tickets, and an invoice.

A report submitted on Oct. 13 included a number of tickets from the trucks, but several numbers were missing, along with the rest of the documentation.

“In Mark’s memo, he advised the applicant that we would like to have all relevant documentation,” said Coun. Ralph Manktelow. “We got none of that.”

After being contacted by staff, the applicant submitted photographs of the dump tickets, with only the top ticket demonstrating full information.

“I would think that the applicant would be really interested in moving on this and getting us all the information that he could,” said Manktelow. “Mark was very explicit — an explanation should be provided for any documents that are not available or not part of the process of fill removal.”

In an interview with the Banner, Ritchie said that as he understood it, he only needed to provide one of the four documents. He provided a receiving document, manifest, and the ticket numbers.

“A fill ticket is the same as a bill of lading and a waybill,” said Ritchie. “All it has is where it’s going to, where it came from, and what it is.”

He said that providing the tickets is easier said than done, because the tickets are taken by the company receiving the fill, and are often filed in a manner that can make it difficult to obtain again, as it’s not well organized.

At the Nov. 10 meeting of council, Early was directed to contact Ritchie again to request the physical copy of the tickets be delivered to the town engineer, Jim Walls, and for an explanation regarding the missing documentation.

“We’ve given four options for confirmation, and we’ve gotten half of one of them,” said Manktelow. “If I was in a position where people were not trusting me, I’d be bending my back to let people know what’s been done.”

Though it was brought up by Coun. Fred Nix that the truck logs are property of the truckers, and not available for the public to demand, Creelman said that shouldn’t prevent Ritchie from requesting them.

“The logs don’t contain nuclear codes,” he said.

Until council signs off on the compliance, the application cannot move forward.

As of Nov. 11, correspondence was received by the Town of Mono from Ritchie confirming the tickets will be delivered to Jim Walls, as well as an explanation as to the tickets being the same as a waybill and bill of lading.

The issue will be brought back to council at a special meeting to be held on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.

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Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner