2017 Soybean Harvest

2017 Soybean Harvest

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Injunction granted against importation of fill for "farm practices"

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice begins with the following question: "Is it normal farming practice to alter the topography of lands by the depositing of large quantities of fill?".  A couple had purchased a 108-acre property on the Oak Ridges Moraine through a holding company and submitted to the local municipality a fill permit application to deposit 300,000 cubic metres of fill on the property (approximately 30,000 dump truck loads).  The municipality eventually brought a motion for injunctive relief to stop the unauthorized deposit of fill on the property.

According to the owners, the purpose of the fill was for the purposes of enhancing their ability to farm the property.  This was the position they took in response to the municipality's injunction application. Yet, in an affidavit sworn by the wife in support of an earlier application by the owners to quash a municipal by-law, it was stated that, "we were interested in purchasing the property for the purposes of using it as a "fill site" for clean fill".  The Court noted that in none of the owners' materials in the first application was there mention of any intention to use the property for farming.

In November, 2010, the municipality became aware that the owners were depositing more fill onto the property than was permitted by the applicable by-law.  The municipality issued a compliance order, but the deposits of fill continued.  The Court found that the owners did not comply with any of the orders issued by the municipality.  It also ruled that:
Based on the evidence that was placed before this court I am not satisfied that the depositing of the quantity of fill that has been observed, and specifically the intent of the respondents to ultimately deposit upwards of 30,000 truckloads of fill, in any way remotely resembles a normal farming operation.
The owners had argued that their operation was protected by the normal farm practices legislation.

The Court issued a permanent injunction against the owners restraining them from performing any further site alterations on their property and specifically restraining them from depositing any further fill or altering the grade of the property other than as permitted by a building permit, an agreement with the municipality and the site by-law.

Read the decision at: Township of Uxbridge v. Corbar Holdings Inc. et al.