Moraine in jeopardy advocates warn
By Frank Matys Orillia Today Jul 15, 2010
ORILLIA – An opponent of the defeated Site 41 landfill harbors similar concerns over an outdoor recycling operation proposed for a township-owned gravel pit in Oro-Medonte.
“It’s the same thing,” Steve Ogden said of potential impacts on the water table. “Are we going to threaten (the water), or aren’t we?”
Ogden is the keynote speaker at an upcoming meeting organized by a residents’ group opposed to plans by Try Recycling to establish a recycling operation at the 7th line and Old Barrie Road.
Residents say they know few details of the proposal and have concerns that materials processed at the site could contaminate ground water.
Among those concerned is Robin Baker.
“They preach about (protecting) the moraine and then you are going to put a recycling facility on it,” he said. “It is the absolute wrong site.”
Residents with concerns were invited to make submissions in May 2009 “without having received any information from council as to what was being proposed,” Baker said.
“And it really hasn’t gotten any better as far as information,” he added. “I just don’t feel we have had the cooperation we should have had as concerned citizens.”
Baker said the bottom of the excavated pit is 45 feet from an aquifer – particularly worrisome given the ground’s highly porous nature.
“The water is world class, it really is,” he added.
Environmentally-sensitive areas nearby, as well as Hawkestone Creek, are also at risk, he said.
“My concern is that there is no consideration being given to the effects of putting stuff on the ground there and leaching into the water,” he said. “It is very vulnerable there because it is an aggregate base. Anything that touches that ground goes through it.”
Ogden said he would be less concerned, were the operator to line the property with engineered clay to prevent runoff from seeping into the ground.
A collection system is also essential, he said.
“The question is, who is the regulator?” he added.
Residents opposed to the operation have created a web site – www.protectoromorainewater.com – and are planning a public information meeting on July 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Oro Town Hall, located at the 7th line and 15/16 Side Road.
“Site 41 only got stopped because people spoke up,” Ogden said.
In an earlier interview with Orillia Today, Mayor Harry Hughes said the operation would help keep construction materials out of landfills and serve as an alternative to the illegal dumping that occurs frequently in the township.
Hughes stressed that the company would accept only non-toxic materials, which would be ground up and resold for other purposes.
The operation would be subject to restrictions on hours of equipment operation and the length of time materials may remain on site.
No heat or water is used in processing, he added.
In a letter provided to Orillia Today by the township, and attributed to Hughes and council, council confirmed that it “unanimously endorsed a revised agreement with TRY Recycling to enable further studies to proceed.”
According to council, the agreement ensures “that the township maintains control, including retaining ownership of the site, having ownership of a potential Certificate of Approval, and enabling the township to discontinue any development should results not meet the satisfaction of council.”
A copy of the agreement is available on the township web site, council said.
The results of peer reviews and comments from the Environment Ministry and other approval agencies will be made public and “additional opportunities for public consultation would be available should the process proceed to a Certificate of Approval application,” council said.