Cash for Trash on Flewellyn Road. January 2017.

City and junk yard face off in zoning scrap

A four-year-old zoning scrap between the City of Ottawa and a Goulbourn scrapyard could wind up back in court, as the area’s city councillor criticizes what he says is “blatant” noncompliance by yard management.

The controversy for Cash for Trash at 7628 Flewellyn Road surrounds how it uses its 50-acre property.  The facility opened in 2012, much to the displeasure of residents who live nearby. The business salvages old vehicles, stripping them for useful parts and storing old wrecked vehicles on site.  A large fire broke out in the scrapyard in July 2015.

The Cash for Trash and surrounding property in 2014. Aerial image via Google Maps.
The Cash for Trash and surrounding property in 2014. The only area currently zoned for a junkyard is at the front of the property along Flewellyn Road. Aerial image via Google Maps.

 

According to the City, the junkyard is only allowed to use a two-acre parcel adjacent to Flewellyn Road, which is zoned as “rural general industrial.” The rest is “rural countryside,” which does not allow for industrial activity such as a scrapyard.

Cash for Trash believes they have a right to not conform to the zoning, based on historical precedent on how the land was used in the past. A large portion of the area zoned as “rural countryside” is being used to store old vehicles.

“We have been denied based on a by-law, apparently that the city is relying on, from the 60s,” said Victoria Freeborne, Cash for Trash’s office manager, in an interview. “But that by-law is actually incomplete… it [was] repealed in 1964, so we believe that we do have the right to use the back [of the lot.]”

Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Scott Moffatt said part of their operations, clearly shown in a 2016 aerial photo, is operating in violation of the land use zoning.

Aerial photos from 2011, 2014 and 2016 showing how Cash For Trash has expanded.
Aerial photos from 2011, 2014 and 2016 showing how Cash For Trash has expanded.

 

At a meeting with neighbouring residents back in September, Moffatt presented a slideshow with aerial photos taken between 1976 and 2016, which showed a progressive, year-over-year increase of cars being stored in the back part of the land, along with deforestation in some parts.

In 1991, when there was a previous owner on the land, a few cars were stored on the “rural countryside” portion. Today, aerial photos show hundreds of cars in the same area.

“The 2016 picture shows a blatant disregard [for zoning],” Moffatt said.

***

Cherry on top: Police car on top of a trash heap at the Cash for Trash junkyard on Flewellyn Road.
Cherry on top: Police car on top of a trash heap at the Cash for Trash junkyard on Flewellyn Road. January, 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.

 

Up until recently, old cars were piled high at the front of the lot, towering over a fence at the front of the property along Flewellyn. In 2015 Charbel Bouroufail, the owner of Cash for Trash, told StittsvilleCentral.ca moving them to the back of the property would distance them from homes and cut down on noise, allaying some of the neighbours’ complaints.

Freeborne said they will continue fighting to move their operations further back to the lot and that they may take the City to court over the issue.

Moffatt said he feels it’s too little too late.

“There was a time for that,” he said. “I think there’s more than that… we’re now four years into this.”

He said it’s probably best for the community if Cash for Trash wasn’t operating there. He isn’t against scrapyards and said he has several in his ward, but this is the only one that operates in a residential area.

 

The city is currently building a case to lay a charge against Cash for Trash, based on the fact that they haven’t removed vehicles from the back portion of the property.  If the city obtains a conviction, Moffatt says that could be used as grounds to revoke their business license.

He said he wants to work with the owners, but the city’s patience is wearing thin.

“If they don’t comply, we don’t have a choice,” he said.

(Here are the slides from the public meeting that Councillor Moffatt hosted in September 2016.)


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4 thoughts on “City and junk yard face off in zoning scrap”

  1. What the pics don’t show is the next lot to the rear (south) of that 50 acres. In addition to the gravel pits on the west side of the lot there is a pit on the south side. So if it were not for the junkyard being there, the neighbours would be living even closer to the pits that would eventually be dug. This lot was probably the best location for a junkyard because of the junk that was left there by all the previous farmers (Young’s, Cathcarts,) over the past couple of hundred years. This lot was owned by people who accessed the property from the 8th line, or Fallowfield Rd. “Rural Countryside” has always been used to store old cars, farm equipment, culverts, washing machines, milk and syrup vats and troughs, etc. Anything that was of no further use was dragged to the back of the property…just look at any old farm. Just sayin’……

  2. In order to ensure that everyone has the correct facts in this matter I would advise that the City of Ottawa did charge Cash for Trash for using the rear 48 acres for a storage yard contrary to the zoning bylaw.
    I attended at court as agent for Cash for Trash in this matter and after extensive pretrial meetings and consideration of the information provided to the Court the City of Ottawa decided to withdraw the charge against Cash for Trash.

  3. I actually LIVE near this eyesore… Thank you for the opportunity to inform you of our actual situation.

    Milk cans, maple syrup troughs, washing machines, harrowers, seeders and disc harrows don’t discharge oil, transmission fluid, gasoline, engine coolant or other pollutants into the water table nor burst into five alarm fires.

    Nor have I seen thirty foot tall fires breaking out on old seeder piles on various farms in Ontario. Firefighters at the site commented on seeing oil puddles on the ground in the storage area away from where the fire actually occurred.
    Your comparison of this situation to an old farmstead of a couple hundred years operation is totally inappropriate and uninformed.

    This operation is less than 20 feet from a residential dwelling on its east side.

    Merely one litre of engine oil can pollute ground water for one thousand years, and once compromised you cannot sell your home because no buyer can obtain a mortgage to purchase it. Your home loses all value.

    The scale of this operation, if you did not look closely at the pictures has no resemblance to the situation you describe. The odd washer and old farm implement has no equivalence of several hundred vehicles as the pictures clearly indicated and you do clearly do not comprehend.

    The root cause is threefold.

    First a totally inadequate and incompetent bylaw regime in Ottawa which by the way does not prevent you from having a wrecking yard right in the middle of a residential zones. If your land is zoned light industrial, you can open a yard.

    The second is the Province. They are only now after decades of cajoling from the Canadian Auto Recyclers Association to introduce Province wide regulations to control discharges from these operations as is currently the case with drive through oil change vendors, whose reportable spill is less than one cup or 250 ml.

    Third the main cause are uniformed and non-cognizant citizens who believe naively this won’t happen to them. Inform yourself carefully because I can assure you in Ottawa it will.

    1. I live directly beside this business and it is awful. It is no way to live and does not belong in a residential location. It is unsafe (2015 fire) and extremely disruptive. Excessive loud noise, oil/gasoline fumes and bright lights ar all hours completely diminish our quality of living in our home and our fellow neighbours. Thank you for writing this article.

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