Southgate sees problems with a plan to expand industry and waste setbacks up to 10 times

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Setbacks from factories and sewage treatment lagoons are poised to increase as much as 10 times.

Southgate will comment on a proposal from Ontario to increase setbacks which will provide more space between neighbourhoods and uses that emit odour, noise or dust.

Another stated goal is to free the Environment ministry staff to pursue larger-scale offences by using setbacks to decrease minor odour, dust and noise complaints.

For municipalities, one concern is that sewage treatment lagoons would be affected as well. Needed expansions might not be able to be done at existing sites, which would increase costs, Southgate planner Clint Stredwick said in a report to council on June 16.

The planner will be commenting to ask for an exemption for municipal waste treatment facilities as well as for a clear list of mitigations that can off-set distance requirements and the process for putting those in place.

For the least intense, Class 1 industry the “area of influence” would increase from 70 to 500 metres, and the existing minimum separation from 20 m to 200 m. In Class 2, the area of influence would more than double from 300 m to 750 m and the minimum separation would go from 70 m to 300 m.

The change is called Land Use Compatibility Guideline and it is open for comment on the provincial Environmental Registry until July 3.

This would expand occasions when compatibility studies are needed, and that could slow down development, Mr. Stredwick said in his report to council.

And a study of alternate locations would be required for a sensitive land use within the area of influence of a major facility.

Some characteristics of Class 1 industries include being a small-scale self-enclosed business with only day-time operations. Class 2 has noise that’s occasionally audible off-site and frequent and occasionally intense dust and odour, with shift work allowed, and frequent movement of trucks.

There is another proposal also on the registry, “Guideline to address odour mixtures in Ontario.” While there are odour-based standards, the odour mixture (total odour) is not addressed. Another change being proposed at the same time is to guidelines to address compatibility for renewable energy approvals.

The guideline is to be used when a new or expanding sensitive land use (e.g. residential) is proposed near an existing.

For a municipal sewage waste facility up to 100,000 cu. m per day, the required setback is 500m, a distance that will limit municipalities ability to expand in an efficient manner.

Mr. Stredwick used the example of residential use and the township sewage lagoons, but the changes also affect any use that has the potential to cause noise or odour emissions: waste transfer stations and landfills, meat and poultry processing plants and slaughter plants, metal and plastics manufacturing.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald

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