• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

TRY Recycling lease called example of bad land-use planning

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In Oro-Medonte
Jul 22nd, 2010
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Letter to the Orillia Packet and Times July 16 2010
Are you concerned about the water you drink?
Mayor Harry Hughes and the Oro-Medonte council signed a badly constructed lease with TRY Recycling (Barrie) Inc. to allow the latter to go to the Ministry of the Environment to get a certificate of approval to start up a recycling plant in the old Township sandpit on the 7th Line at the Old Barrie Road.
The site for this proposed private industry on township public land is on the south face of the Oro Moraine only 500 yards uphill from the Hawkestone Swamp and the Hawkestone River, which empties into Lake Simcoe. This proximity is compounded further by the fact that the sandpit is mostly extracted, and the floor of the sand pit is only 45 feet above the aquifer.
So what, you say. Read on.
Over the past few years, much has been written about the Oro Moraine in the hydrogeology journals. It is agreed that this moraine contains a complex system of deep and superficial aquifer connected by hydraulic pressures, something like escalators.
Very interesting — so?
The problem is that previous simple extraction could now be replaced by manufacturing. It is proposed that a paving compound be made on the floor of the sandpit; that’s right — an asphalt plant. With the very porous nature of the sand, any chemical contamination will leach quickly down into the aquifers. Our wells tap into these aquifers. We drink that water. We are made mostly of water. Protection of ground water is very, very important.
Is zero tolerance for waste accomplished by zero tolerance for wetlands and water? There must be a better way. No one would argue with the concept of recycling. It is like motherhood, but at times, even that can be contentious. In this case, the site for recycling is chosen badly. At a recent public seminar on future economic development, it was stated that there is an abundance of industrial land in Oro-Medonte.
It all boils down to planning. This entire matter is a blatant, flagrant example of improper land-use planning, and it is not the only example in the township.
Last year, the planning committee for Oro- Medonte was dismantled by council. Why? It is imperative that this committee be re-instated immediately and be composed of responsible members with common sense, awareness and fortitude. Proper land-use planning should always be at the top of their list.
If we had less economics and more of the humanities in the picture, we might affect a proper balance. This awareness is gathering momentum around our global village. Let us do our bit by protecting our water. Let us not put thing where they should not be. Let us voice our opinion the Ministry of the Environment.
Ted Beaton, Oro-Medonte

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