Pre-hearing into challenge of Mono landfill bylaw accomplishes little

April 8, 2015   ·   0 Comments

The pre-hearing last Thursday for litigation between the Town of Mono and local farmer Douglas Cox over the town’s landfill bylaw bore little fruit, despite beginning at 10:30 a.m. and not ending until late afternoon.

The day began with a motion by Mono’s lawyer, Jeff Wilker of Thomson Rogers in Toronto, seeking an adjournment on grounds not enough residents had been notified and given an opportunity to be present at the pre-hearing. After taking a 30-minute recess, the hearing officer, Normal Farm Practices Hearing Board member Marty Bile, ruled against the motion, before calling another lengthy recess.

While the initial notice for the hearing provided by Mr. Cox and SoilCan, a project management company dealing with the excavation and haulage of soil, indicated that the farmer took issue with the fees and hours allowable under the bylaw, it was revealed during the pre-hearing that the issue was with the entire bylaw, involving an assertion that it restricts Mr. Cox’s capability to properly farm his land.

Despite inaccurate information having been filed as to the reason for the hearing, the hearing officer ruled that the entire fill bylaw was under consideration, not just the previously identified issues.

However, as the entire fill bylaw makes the issue a jurisdictional one, it was not possible for Mr. Wilker and Mono planner Mark Early to proceed with the mediation, as they had no direction from Council on how to proceed on mediation regarding the entire bylaw.

The meeting was adjourned, with Mr. Bile ordering OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) to undertake further conflict resolution discussions with both parties prior to the full hearing.

At this point, a full hearing date has not been set, and the Town of Mono is waiting for the Board member’s decisions in writing.

During the pre-hearing, local Mono resident Elaine Kehov asked to be identified as a party member along with the Town of Mono, as her property is near enough to Mr. Cox’s to be affected by the outcome.

Prior to the pre-hearing, a number of other residents expressed concerns that Mr. Cox is pursuing this action for his own goals, and that normal farming is not restricted by the existing bylaw.

According to the Town, Mr. Cox never completed an application under the fill bylaw to the Town prior to pursuing this course of action.

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