Residents block trucks from Bradner Road

The City of Abbotsford seeks legal answers to property owners' filling of ravine.

Police attended after angry Bradner residents blocked a road to prevent trucks from dumping their loads in a nearby ravine

More than a dozen semi-trucks were lined up along Bradner Road on Monday morning as residents erected a makeshift blockade.

The protest was designed to draw attention to what locals believe is illegal dumping taking place on 29325 Marsh McCormick Rd.

Residents say that for the past few months the property, owned by Gene Drader, has had dozens of dump trucks arrive each day, bringing a mixture of soil and concrete pieces as fill. But no city permit has been granted.

Duncan Kerfoot, who has lived in Bradner for the past 11 years, said the city has done little to stop it, other than warning the owner.

“… he just continues hauling,” said Kerfoot.

After getting little civic action, the decision was made to block the trucks’ path.

“We just gave up waiting for the city.”

Kerfoot said living close to the dumping site has been difficult. He said the process goes on from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is noisy. It also leaves dirt and mud on the road as well as creating cement and other forms of dust in the area.

Some residents are concerned that the constant dumping is creating health problems for humans and animals.

“It’s come to the point that the vet is looking after my horse because he’s got respiratory problems. I’m on three inhalers now. The dust is terrible,” said Carol Knelson, who has lived in the area for 30 years.

Residents aren’t blaming the truck drivers, who they said are just doing their jobs, but the blockade was needed to get some response from the city.

The tactic seemed to work as the Abbotsford Police and city works inspector Ryan Doman attended the scene.

Doman told the crowd the city is aware of the concerns and is currently looking into legal action against the property owner.

He acknowledged that the owner does not have a permit to deposit soil.

“We have contacted our lawyer to find out what our next steps are, as per our bylaw,” he said.

Once legal counsel has responded, Doman said he is hopeful that the situation can be settled.

Doman confirmed that stop-work orders have been posted, but dumping has continued.

After close to three hours, police and the city convinced residents to remove the barricade and allow trucks to pass.

While the property owner declined to comment on the issue, an official response was issued to The News.

“The owners of the property 29325 Marsh McCormick Rd., Gene and Gillian Drader, have been instructed by their lawyer to exercise due diligence to help prevent any further collapse of their property or the road that borders it.  Because of a right-of-way agreement after the original settlement of litigation with the city, there is no permit required. Any stop work notices have been a misunderstanding due to lack of communication.

“The only option to perform this maintenance is to use clean fill authorized by their geotechnical engineer to help the stabilization of the surrounding properties and Marsh McCormick Rd.”

The statement did not go into any detail about a previous litigation, and no one at city hall was available to comment by press time.