November 14, 2012
A story this week about the municipality divesting land that may be
contaminated with septic waste is disconcerting. If the Ministry of the
Environment has expressed concern regarding a municipal road allowance
that sits on a flood plane, the municipality should encourage the source
of the problem to rectify the issue, and help him or her achieve that.
That is the role the municipality should be playing in this scenario,
for the greater good of the residents and the water body and aquifer
that could be impacted by such waste.
Washing its hands of the situation by simply selling the land is not
what we expect from a public sector body. Municipal council and staff
are entrusted with our money to ensure our environment is clean, and the
health and safety of residents protected.
While we think it is great of council to try and get top dollar for
municipal land, of greater importance is the fact that there may be some
contamination issues that ought to be addressed.
Municipal governments have become so concerned with liability that it
seems they’re forgetting about their mandate. Again, to ensure the
safety and health of their residents and conduct planning and building
approvals with the same in mind.
Environmental and health hazards should not be ignored by simply selling
the land, and we believe that if systems have failed, the municipality
also has to take responsibility.
The monitoring of septic systems is something the municipality should be
undertaking, especially when it concerns a rural business and a
property the Ministry of the Environment has already expressed concern
Long-term sustainability is also important when it comes to planning and
building approvals. When septic systems are approved, staff should
ensure that such systems are effective into the future and impress on
landowners what their expected shelf life and capacity might be. That is
why we expect municipal employees to ensure their knowledge of building
materials and septic and well water systems is up to date. It is
important that they’re aware of new building codes and when building
products are either discontinued or taken off the market and why.
Muskoka has a lot of builders. Some are very good and others not so
much, and that is why our building inspectors and other municipal staff
should be worth their weight in gold. We want them to take courses and
ensure that their inspections and approvals are conducted with
knowledge, prudence, fairness and care. That, after all, is what our tax
dollars pay them for.
This article is for personal use only courtesy of cottagecountrynow.ca - a division of Metroland Media Group Ltd.