The Gleaner
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Franklin adopts bolstered bylaw to control backfilling

The municipality of Franklin has adopted an amended version of its permit and certificate bylaw that introduces tough new measures to control backfill operations within its territory.

The municipal council issued a notice of motion during its regular meeting on April 3 that instituted a freeze on all backfill operations in Franklin while the council reviewed its bylaw. A revised bylaw, introducing new control measures, was tabled during the regular council meeting on June 5. It was then officially adopted during a special council meeting on June 9.

“It was important for the municipal council and our citizens to take swift action and introduce significant measures to control backfill operations in Franklin, to protect the environment of our magnificent territory,” says Franklin mayor Yves Métras.

The new bylaw aims to preserve the environment in Franklin while “better protecting landowners who wish to add soil to their land, particularly for agricultural purposes,” according to a press release issued by the municipality shortly after the new bylaw was adopted.

Bylaw 273-7 provides a framework for activities related to backfill work that modifies the documents required to apply for a permit, while adding strict conditions that must be met prior to and during backfill operations.

Two sources, six months

The bylaw introduces control measures where a maximum of two sources of fill material will be authorized per permit. An assessment of the materials produced by an accredited laboratory, which was already required to verify whether the soil contained any contaminants, must now be carried out less than six months before the application for a permit is submitted.

All backfill work described in the application must now take place within a maximum of six months, and a deposit in the amount of $20,000 must be remitted to the municipality for all backfill permits involving a volume of 3,501 cubic metres or more. The deposit will be returned to the permit applicant if all conditions and regulations governing the backfill operation are met. A deposit for backfill activities involving less than 3,500 cubic metres of fill is not required.

Itinerary and testing

Backfill permits will also now include an itinerary that must be respected. The landowner or individual responsible for the backfill site must now send a report to the municipality that details the number of loads received during the week, including the delivery slip for each truck. Soil tests must be carried out, at the owner’s expense, by a representative of the municipality – either on a weekly basis, or for every 3,500 cubic metres of soil that is transported to the site. Backfilling may continue while soil tests are taken and during the analysis.

A second series of soil tests must be carried out at the owner’s expense if the results of the initial tests are deemed non-compliant or invalid. If a second set of tests is required, all backfilling work will be halted until valid or compliant results are received by the municipality. (SR)

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