• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Site 41 landfill clearly wasn’t the answer

In Simcoe County
Jun 13th, 2010

Site 41 opponents might soon have to get on with their other lives.
When Simcoe County council acquiesced to overwhelming public pressure and abandoned its plans for the Tiny Township landfill last summer, the writing was on the wall.
Now county council will consider asking Ontario’s Environment Ministry to revoke the certificate of approval necessary to operate this property as a landfill.
Unless there’s some nefarious plan to sell Site 41 to a private business and have it operate a landfill (and there’s no evidence of this), this is a no-brainer for county councillors (or at least those who want to be re-elected on Oct. 25).
And once county council decides to ask the MOE that the certificate be revoked, as recommended by the corporate services committee, the rest should be easy.
Doubters should note the words of Barrie MPP Aileen Carroll in March.
She said Environment Minister John Gerretsen stated in the legislature, March 1, “If the County of Simcoe were to ask us to basically revoke the certificate, we would do that…They’re the people who applied for the certificate and we approved the certificate…If they now want us to revoke that certificate, all they have to do is write us a letter… and we will comply with that.”
Carroll says she told the county this, in a letter, last November.
So, it would seem, all the county has to do is ask. Which also means that Simcoe North MPP Garfield Dunlop’s private member’s bill to revoke the certificate is unnecessary.
Carroll’s words also mean the province understands the political reality of the the Site 41 opposition. The MOE isn’t interested in supporting something the local government, and residents, oppose.
But that doesn’t seem to be the end of it for Site 41 protesters.
They still want the calibrated computer model (modflow) that’s the so-called science showing Site 41 is a good place for a dump.
The county has taken the Information and Privacy Commissioner to court rather than comply with the order.
Site 41 opponents say the public has a right to this information.
Maybe so, but it’s a moot point now. The county isn’t going ahead with the landfill there, and the MOE’s certificate of approval will be revoked as soon as the county’s request is made.
None of the above means that Site 41 opponents should let down their guard. This county council should continue to be pressured so that this matter is settled before the election.
And councils have disregarded recommendations from their reference committees before. Stranger things have happened.
The MOE is also checking to see that if the county sells Site 41, whether the buyer could apply for a certificate of approval and operate a dump.
That’s also probably moot, if the MOE understands that this is the wrong place for a landfill.
About the only thing which hasn’t been resolved is where Simcoe County’s trash will go when all of the existing dumps are full.
County council is trying to figure this out, and hopes to have some answers by the summer.
But Site 41 isn’t the answer. It’s opponents are on the verge of making that completely clear.

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