Conservancy group opposes clean fill dumping near Little Mountain Park

Part of the naturalized wetland at the former site of the Little Mountain Quarry across from Little Mountain Park in the Rural Municipality of Rosser. (Adam Peleshaty/The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times)

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A conservancy group is opposing the RM of Rosser’s plans to dump clean fill in an abandoned quarry which now acts as a wetland.

The Little Mountain Park Conservancy Group stated their case to council for the Rural Municipality of Rosser at their council meeting on March 26. The group claims the RM is using their 16-acre parcel of the land, located across from Little Mountain Park on the north side of Farmer Road, as a dumping ground for clean fill produced by a neighbouring sewer and water installation project for CentrePort. It fears the RM will also use the location on a permanent basis.

Karen Zoppa, secretary for the Little Mountain Park Conservancy Group, said the location is a “habitat that requires protection.”

“We’re willing to accept (the project) as a short-term thing, but as the footprint is encroached, we started to get concerned,” she said.

The naturalized wetland was the former site of the Little Mountain Quarry which ceased operations a century ago. While the group could not survey the entire site as it is private property, the group assumes, just like Little Mountain Park, that the land supports numerous bird, mammal and plant species, some of which are threatened and endangered.

“We’ve lost 90% of our wetlands in the last 50 years. There is presently a very big push to try to protect wetlands and the most important aspect of this particular wetland besides drainage and filtering of agricultural chemicals is the life that it supports,” Zoppa added.

Rosser CAO Larry Wandowich wrote in an email to The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times that placing the fill at the former quarry site “will save our ratepayers ultimate costs associated with the local improvement project.”

He also wrote that the province’s Mineral Resources department had no objections to the RM’s plans with regards to the environment and that their plans are consistent with the province’s own sustainable development practices regarding site rehabilitation and remediation. He also stated that the RM searched for any at-risk species registered at the property and found none.

Zoppa understands that it can be difficult for municipalities to find locations to unload clean fill and even appreciated Wandowich’s transparency on the matter, but she still believes that another location should be more suitable.

“Fill is valuable,” she said. “When you dump it into this quarry wetland, it’s no longer available to you without much greater expense and you’re just disrupting a really beautiful ecosystem … We think they have other options and we are asking them to take them.”

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