Burlington Executive Airport owner loses appeal to dump dirt on property

The owner of Ontario's Burlington Executive Airport, where thousands of truckloads of contentious dirt have been dumped in recent years, has lost a court appeal to allow the dumping to continue.

Decision welcomed by local residents alarmed by dumping of soil

Barbara Sheldon's land is now bordered on three sides by mounds of dirt trucked in by her neighbour, the Burlington airport. (Marnie Luke/CBC)

The owner of Ontario's Burlington Executive Airport, where thousands of truckloads of contentious dirt have been dumped in recent years, has lost a court appeal to allow the dumping to continue.

Vince Rossi had argued that municipal and provincial rules do not apply to his land, given that airports and aerodromes fall under federal jurisdiction. He said he needed the soil to expand his airport.

The appeal was heard by a panel of three judges, who ruled in favour of the City of Burlington, upholding an earlier court ruling. 

The decision means the City of Burlington can enforce its bylaw regulating landfills. City officials said they will provide more details soon about the next steps, which could include ordering the removal of soil that’s already been dumped at the airport.

The decision is being celebrated by some people who live near the area and who have been demanding answers about the soil that’s been trucked in from construction sites throughout southern Ontario.  

Rural residents are angry that some landowners are earning millions of dollars by taking in soil dug up from Toronto-area construction sites with little oversight.

Residents have also raised concerns that the massive piles of dirt surrounding them have destroyed their property value and quality of life.

Some municipalities have bylaws about using private property for landfill, but rules around soil testing and the amount of dirt that can be dumped are unclear.  

In a previous statement to CBC News, Rossi had accused his neighbours of "disingenuously raising environmental concerns."

In that statement, Rossi said the Ministry of the Environment has not found a problem with the fill he is using.

Court documents obtained by CBC News indicate Rossi was paid more than $855,000 to accept the soil from 2011 to 2013. 

Rossi could not be immediately reached for comment about today’s court ruling.


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