At the moment Upland uses the big pit (directly below the photographer) to store gravel piles. If their application to upgrade to a landfill operational certificate goes through, they will be converting the big pit into a landfill. Mirror File Photo/Jocelyn Doll

Hydrogeologist invited to present concerns on Upland landfill proposal to council

Dr. Gilles Wendling has been asked to detail the ‘critical gaps’ he’s found in the plan

Council has invited the author of a hydrogeological study of the area around the proposed Upland landfill site to give a presentation to council early in the new year.

At its last public meeting of 2017, city council received a copy of a presentation given to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy by Dr. Gilles Wendling, senior hydrogeologist with the firm GW Solutions, which sites “critical gaps” in the plan that could affect the watershed.

And council wants to hear more about these gaps.

The city has been wrestling with the site and Upland’s proposed uses for it for some time now. Back in April of 2016, city staff outlined 26 different areas of concern in a letter to Upland, questioning their intentions in regards to snow management, invasive plants and noxious weeds, fire protection, wildlife management when it comes to birds using leachate ponds, along with other concerns.

Terry Stuart of Upland Excavating wrote a letter to the Mirror at that time, saying safety systems – including double-lining the containment area – were being built into the design of the site that would ensure “no material can spill outside or be deposited outside of the liner, water cannot spill out or drain off onto unlined ground and cannot flow uphill into McIvor or Rico Lake.”

Wendling’s report contains geological surveys that show the location of aquifers in the area and direction of groundwater flow, but without the report being actually presented by the scientists involved in its creation, much of the context of the slideshow is absent.

“As I read through the report, I noticed on his very last slide, he mentions ‘critical gaps’ in regards to impacts on Rico and McIvor (lakes) and our water supply still existing – and still needing to determine the groundwater regime,” Cornfield said. “They weren’t specified where or what, so I think if we got Dr. Wendling here, it would be beneficial to us dealing with this complex issue.”

Coun. Larry Samson recommended Dr. Wendling be invited to present at a Committee of the Whole meeting so he would not be subject to the typical five minute time limit for presentations at council meetings, but city clerk Peter Wipper reminded council that if a delegation is actually invited by council, they are not subject to that constraint – they actually get 30 minutes.

So it was decided that Dr. Wendling will be invited to speak for up to 30 minutes at an upcoming public meeting.

There is no word on which meeting – if any – he will attend.