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Residents voice opinion on waste management

In Simcoe County
Feb 16th, 2010

By Joanne Saunders Wasaga Sun
Representatives of Simcoe County’s Environmental Services and its waste management consultants kept their cool in the face of barbs thrown from area residents at a Feb. 9 public consultation on the county’s solid waste management strategy.
While the county received several compliments on its initiatives to reduce and divert solid waste going to landfill, many criticisms were aired by the nearly 75 citizens in attendance at the Wasaga Beach RecPlex.
The residents from across the county spoke up in a question and answer period following a presentation about the current status of the waste management strategy for the next 20 years.
One resident questioned the use of disposable coffee cups at the meeting and noted the presenters were using plastic water bottles.
“Is the water in this building not potable?” she asked, adding that, “it doesn’t give me a lot of faith in the people who are here to lead us.”
Another noted that the missing piece in the presentation was a vision statement. When the U.S. wanted to put a man on the moon, she said, they simply stated, ‘in 10 years we will put a man on the moon.’ She encouraged the county to make a similarly simple, short statement of the goal.
“We agree we need to have a vision statement first,” said Stantec Consulting’s Janine Ralph, adding that the original vision statement has already undergone one adjustment.
Those making the presentation were Stantec’s Janine Ralph and David Payne and Rob McCullough, the county’s director of environmental services. Members of the steering committee seated in the audience were then introduced to the gathering.
Juergen Keller of Stayner said when he came here from Europe he was amazed at how far behind we are in this country regarding methods of waste disposal. He recommended that the county look a little bit further as “there are solutions out there.”
McCullough told The Sun that, ” the MOE has made it clear to us that they will consider incineration.”
Kelly Clune said the county could have saved a lot of money if it had not ignored the advice of many experts living in the area.
Kate Dewey of Tiny Township said it seems like the county is not working with the provincial Ministry of the Environment.
Many attendees were heard to complain about the 22 page workbook they were asked to fill out responding to many questions about the course of action they felt the county should be taking to deal with the issue.
“It took me an hour to fill this out,” said Valerie Powell of Oro-Medonte, a Green Party candidate.
“I’m not so sure the political will is there (to reduce garbage going to landfill) without pressure from all of us,” she said.
McCullough’s explanation for the lengthy questionnaire was that, “it’s a complex issue, involving no simple yes or no answers.” Those who didn’t wish to fill out the entire workbook could choose to simply fill out the back page, he said, or complete it and mail it in.
Those wishing to comment online may visit simcoe.ca/municipalservices/wastemanagement/strateg residents spoke up in a question and answer period.

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