Biochar facility to be taken to OMB

By Angelica Ingram

Published Feb. 28 2017

Four individuals have filed an appeal against a biochar facility to be constructed by Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve on Kennaway Road.
A zoning bylaw amendment for the facility was approved by Dysart council at their Jan 23 meeting following months of public meetings and objections from the public.
At a Feb. 27 meeting Dysart director of planning Patricia Martin told councillors that four individuals had filed a formal appeal to the bylaw.
The individuals include Catharine Gonnsen Laurie Wheeler Larry Lowenstein and Douglas Buchanan with each person citing the same reasons for the appeal.

The reasons include that the biochar facility is a noxious use that it is a waste processing plant that the zoning bylaw is not consistent with provincial policy the use does not conform to the Haliburton County or Dysart et al Official Plan and that it does not comply with separation distances for major industries.
“Council does not agree with the reasons that the appellants have put forward and are of the opinion that by-law 2017-09 should proceed to the Ontario Municipal Board for a hearing” wrote Martin in her staff report.
The OMB requires a report from council on its position of each appeal.
The property which was zoned industrial prior to the zoning amendment has a long history of being used for industrial purposes most recently as a wood pellet manufacturing business.
The zoning amendment is to change the property from its current zoning of general industrial extractive industrial and rural type 1 to a general industrial 8 exception zoning.
The applicants are able to build the facility on the property with or without the amendment however the zoning change will determine where on the property the facility can be built.

Dysart Reeve Murray Fearrey said he didn’t believe the issues being raised by those appealing the bylaw had to do with zoning issues.
“If they [Haliburton Forest] don’t get the environmental approval they’re not going to be able to do it anyways” said Fearrey.
Martin said if the project receives the necessary approvals from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change it will demonstrate the facility is not a noxious use.
Deputy-reeve Andrea Roberts questioned why there were four individuals appealing for the same reasons.
Fearrey said it was to give the appeal more weight and allow each individual to speak at the hearing.
The deadline to file an appeal of the bylaw was Feb. 14.
Council requested a pre-hearing conference with solicitors prior to the hearing.
Councillors passed a resolution stating they did not agree with the opinions of those appealing and that it should go to the OMB for a hearing.