Sudbury top soil stripping to face tighter rules
People in the Valley area of Greater Sudbury are again kicking up dust about the stripping of top soil.
Five years ago, the city passed a bylaw to regulate companies that were removing soil from the city's agricultural reserve.
But Michel Belisle, who lives next to one such operation in Blezard Valley, said there has been little monitoring of how much soil is being trucked out of those properties.
"[The] City of Sudbury wants to boast that it's environmentally friendly and green and [about] all the money invested in the re-greening and yet, here, this is what's allowed to happen."
Belisle said he has watched truckload after truckload of dark, rich soil leave what used to be a farm next to his home.
"This was beautiful farmland before, but it's not farmland any more. You can't produce anything on it,” he said.
The city’s chief building official, Guido Mazza said the bylaw tried to find a balance between protecting farmland and allowing these soil companies to stay in business.
"The idea was to protect the agricultural reserve area and, for the most part, council's done that."
The permits issued 5 years ago will expire this summer, he said, and then any top soil strippers who wish to continue operating in the agricultural reserve will have to follow stricter rules.
The city says it will be evaluating each of the properties where top soil removal has been permitted. The property owners are required to "rehabilitate" the land to make sure it is still suitable for farming.
Mazza also noted that at least one company violated the bylaw by removing too much top soil — something he said the city will make sure is corrected.