BY JOHN CHICK
Special to the VOICE
After initially not doing so, the Pelham farmer responsible for an apparent mass spill of soybeans on the banks of Fifteen Mile Creek has come forward to clean up the mess, according to both the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and Mayor Marvin Junkin.
“The farmer has committed to cleaning up the remaining material within a week,” Lindsay Davidson of the MOE told the Voice on Friday. Junkin concurred.
“It is my understanding that once the [Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority] and the MOE got involved, the farmer came forward and claimed responsibility for the spill,” said Junkin, who lives nearby.
“It would have been a lot more serious if the beans had been covered in insecticides, ready for planting, instead of having just been combined.”
The spill evidently occurred in January, when the farmer was transporting a wagon of soybeans with his tractor. The wagon became unhitched, and a substantial amount of its cargo spilled down the embankment. As the weather warmed, the unattended-to load rotted and its foul odour filled the air.
Gary Dingman, a nearby resident who first made the noxious discovery, told the Voice over the weekend that while most of the mess has been cleaned up, some of it remains. From his perspective, he’s also not 100 percent convinced it’s soy.
“It smells like rotting flesh is what it smells like,” Dingman said. “It’s hard to believe its soybeans.”
What Dingman is still most upset about, however, is what he calls the “gunk’s” continued presence in the sensitive creek.
“It’s floating everywhere,” he said. “It’s killed trees and vegetation … this part of the creek is an extremely rich ecosystem. Blue Herons feed here three times a day.”
Dingman’s assertion counters what an MOE spokesperson told the St. Catharines Standard, that none of the soy appeared to have entered the creek.
The MOE also did not disclose if the farmer who spilled the beans would face a fine.
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