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UPDATE: The Oak Ridges Smell relief is in sight!

On May 18, 2022 the Project Manager provides this update:

"The (OLT) appeal was withdrawn and the project is moving forward. The City of Richmond Hill is now reviewing the site plan and building permit application and hopefully the permit will be issued shortly.”


On February 6, 2022 York Region's Senior Project Manager for the Air Management Facility (AMF) project stated the below:

  • The Committee of Adjustments approval has been appealed by the private landowner to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), hence the project is paused until a decision is rendered by OLT. OLT set the hearing for the end of April 2022.

Thanks to Oak Ridges resident Carol Davidson for her perseverance in finding out what is being done about this years long issue.

 

If you live in Oak Ridges especially in the area of Yonge Street, King Road, North Lake Road and the surrounding area you have been subjected to the horrible smell of human waste that has been emanating in this area for many years.


What causes this stench and what is being done about it?

Here's the current status:

  • In 2016 York Region (YR) determined that an Air Management Facility (AMF) with odour control technology is required

  • The Air Management Facility is important local infrastructure that will improve the air quality for local residents and businesses affected by sewer odour in the Oak Ridges neighbourhood.

  • The Region initiated the required steps to obtain a building permit from the City of Richmond Hill to build the facility at the corner of Yonge Street and King Road on land owned by YR and one other landowner

  • Steps taken by YR included expropriation of land at 12960 Yonge Street and obtain Richmond Hill Committee of Adjustment approval

Here's where we are today:

According to YR's Senior Project Manager on this project:

  • The Committee of Adjustments approval has been appealed by the private landowner to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), hence the project is paused until a decision is rendered by OLT. OLT set the hearing for the end of April 2022.

  • Contingent upon OLT’s approval of the Region’s request, the City of Richmond Hill will be able to issue the building permit to start the project.

Below are explanations by YR as to what is causing the smell

Why are we experiencing odours in Oak Ridges?

As with any sewer pipe, odour will be present inside the pipe from sewage flows. Odour-causing compounds are also partly generated due to the pipe following the height/topography of the land and the mixing that occurs as sewage travels through the pipe. As a result of changes in topography, ‘drop structures’ are designed along the system at points along the sewer to accommodate for the elevation difference on the pipe profile, where odours may result. As a function of the system, sewer gas is a normal occurrence. Pressure and flow changes in this area promote the presence and mixing of gases, resulting in odours.

What may cause the sewage smell in the Oak Ridges neighborhood?

Increased sewage flow from current and future area growth. The increased sewage flow will reduce the space for the air flow in the sewer system, which may create a positive pressure in the system, causing the air to be pushed out of the system at maintenance holes and other openings.

Project Timeline

  • In 2015, the Region’s Environmental Services Department completed a study to identify a permanent solution to address nuisance emissions occurring in the Oak Ridges area. Following the study, it was determined that the construction of an Air Management Facility is required to address the concerns.

  • On October 3, 2016 the Oak Ridges Air Management Facility Environmental Assessment Study Commenced. View Notice here

  • On July 27, 2017 completed the Environmental Assessment. View Notice of Completion here

  • At the January 4, 2018 YR Committee of the Whole meeting YR staff sought and received Council approval for an application to expropriate property interests needed for the development of an Air Management Facility on Region owned land municipally known as 57 King Road in the southwest quadrant of Yonge Street and King Road in the Town of Richmond Hill. View staff report here

  • On September 19, 2019 YR Council authorized offers of compensation to the owners of lands for Expropriation. View staff report here

  • On July 8, 2020 the Site Plan application came forward to Richmond Hill Council for comments. No comments were made. View staff report here

  • On Oct 27, 2021, The construction contract for the facility was tendered. The contract was not awarded due to appeal made to Ontario Land Tribunal.

  • Late April 2022 OLT hearing regarding Committee of Adjustments approval that is being appealed by the private landowner to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), hence the project is paused until a decision is rendered by OLT.

  • Contingent upon OLT’s approval of the Region’s request, the City of Richmond Hill will be able to issue the building permit to start the project.

  • Funding for the project is set aside in the Tabled 2022 YR Budget. The total cost of the project is $16.4M of which $12.8M is set aside in the 10-year Capital Plan.

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