Wool­wich still at odds with owner of wreck­ing yard over meth­ane

Headache over site of for­mer mu­nic­i­pal dump ex­pands to in­clude is­sues about trail­way ac­cess, wa­ter line on prop­erty

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE KANNON

A MAKESHIFT PATH­WAY CON­NECT­ING the Kiss­ing Bridge Trail and Bolen­der Park in Elmira is be­ing re­moved af­ter the town­ship and prop­erty owner failed to come to an agree­ment.

The two are also at odds over a mu­nic­i­pal wa­ter­line that runs through the 86 Auto and Metal Re­cy­clers prop­erty on Arthur Street – an in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed there was never an ease­ment reached al­low­ing ac­cess to the site.

The pair of tres­pass­ing is­sues come in the wake of un­cer­tain­ties about meth­ane from an old mu­nic­i­pal dump un­der part of the site and the park it­self. The ex­tent of the meth­ane prob­lem is still un­der re­view, as are meth­ods for deal­ing with it.

Wool­wich is wait­ing on in­put from the Min­istry of the En­vi­ron­ment at this point, a process that has dragged on.

The de­lays are part of the frus­tra­tion for prop­erty owner Frank Rat­tasid, who has come across road­blocks in his at­tempts to op­er­ate a metal re­cy­cling op­er­a­tion at 39 Arthur St. N. Faced with what he calls a lack of co­op­er­a­tion from Wool­wich of­fi­cials, the town­ship’s in­cur­sions on his land – the path­way and the wa­ter line – are all the more trou­ble­some, he says.

Cloud­ing mat­ters are on­go­ing ef­forts to test for meth­ane on the site, an is­sue that Rat­tasid notes he was as­sured was no longer a prob­lem. Wool­wich had in fact re­moved a pump driven vent­ing sys­tem that had been in­stalled years ago, be­fore a prob­lem was dis­cov­ered anew.

“I have a prob­lem that I didn’t think I had. This is

not my prob­lem,” he said Tues­day.

Fac­ing in­con­ve­niences and pos­si­ble ex­penses, he said he’d like to see some com­pen­sa­tion, ei­ther mon­e­tary or in the form of co­op­er­a­tion with his plans to ex­pand the scope of the op­er­a­tion.

Cur­rently, he op­er­ates the auto wreck­ing busi­ness on five of the 12 acres he owns. The other seven are zoned as open space, so can’t be used as part of the busi­ness. Among the many pro­pos­als he’s brought to the town­ship is a plan to use five of the seven acres, turn­ing over the re­main­ing two acres to the town­ship as a buf­fer zone be­tween his site and the neigh­bours. That would also al­low for a path­way and ac­cess for the wa­ter line.

He’s also floated other of­fers, in­clud­ing sell­ing the seven acres to the town­ship or per­haps even the en­tire site.

“I gave them a num­ber. I thought it was a rea­son­able num­ber, not much more than I spent for it,” said Rat­tasid, adding he sees fu­ture de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial for the site.

Wool­wich chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer David Bren­ne­man ac­knowl­edges that Ratta sid has pre­sented a num­ber of sce­nar­ios, but said the de­tails are a prop­erty is­sue that could only be dis­cussed by coun­cil­lors in a closed meet­ing.

“He cer­tainly has made some pro­pos­als,” Bren­ne­man said. “Mr. Rat­tasid is cer­tainly al­ways ex­plor­ing op­tions.”

On the is­sue of ex­panded uses at the site, he main­tains the long­stand­ing opin­ion that Rat­tasid will have to make a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion for a zon­ing change or per­haps a mi­nor vari­ance be­fore that can be con­sid­ered.

“If he wants to di­ver­sify the use on the prop­erty or ex­pand ... he needs to make an ap­pli­ca­tion.”

He ac­knowl­edged that the meth­ane is an is­sue. The town­ship is look­ing to work with Rat­tasid to do more test­ing and to in­stall some kind of meth­ane dis­burse­ment sys­tem down the road if nec­es­sary.

For his part, Rat­tasid main­tains that a town­ship pro­posal to use a trench sys­tem – as op­posed to the for­mer be­low-ground pump­ing op­tion – could prove dis­rup­tive to his op­er­a­tion.

Bren­ne­man coun­ters that the town­ship will look at ways to min­i­mize the im­pact.

Work on the meth­ane si­t­u­a­tion is in limbo, how­ever, as they wait for the MOE to re­spond.

In the mean­time, the town­ship is look­ing at op­tions for mov­ing both the path­way to Bolen­der Park and the wa­ter line.

With the wa­ter line, en­gi­neer­ing staff is look­ing at com­ing up with a “cost­ef­fec­tive way” to re­lo­cate the ser­vice.

Town­ship rec. staff will be re­mov­ing the makeshift bridges on town­ship prop­erty and post­ing signs about tres­pass­ing, said Bren­ne­man. The de­part­ment is also look­ing at al­ter­na­tives for con­nect­ing the trail to the park.

“Mr. Rat­tasid no­ti­fied us he wanted to do some clean­ing of the back part of his prop­erty. He had men­tioned that he was go­ing to take that out,” he said of this week’s re­moval of the path­way on pri­vate prop­erty.

“I want the tres­pass­ing to stop be­cause there’s a li­a­bil­ity as­pect,” said Rat­tasid, not­ing there’s been no progress on his at­tempts to get the prop­erty in town­ship hands, for in­stance.

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