Recycling plant would save landfill: Hughes
By JENNIFER BURDEN ORILLIA PACKET AND TIMES jULY 22 2010
If Oro-Medonte Township doesn’t want another landfill, a project like the proposed TRY Recycling site is the way to go, mayor Harry Hughes said Wednesday.
“The garbage that was destined for Site 41 is going to the Oro-Medonte Site 11 landfill,” Hughes said Wednesday. “The reason county council consistently voted against Site 41 was because there was not a need to create new (landfills) if we follow recycling options. You either recycle or you bury it in the landfill.”
If waste isn’t diverted from Site 11, Hughes said the Oro-Medonte landfill will be full within seven years, adding that 95% of all construction material that ends up in landfills can be recycled. As of now, there is no processing or recycling of construction materials taking place in Simcoe County, he said.
Hughes argues that by allowing a company like Londonbased TRY Recycling to lease township-owned land, they are ensuring that council has a say in what kind of business takes up shop in Oro-Medonte and what type of materials they accept.
$1.35 “We, as a township, want to be in charge of that,” he said, adding they don’t want private businesses coming in on private land and calling the shots.
The first step in making that happen is finding a suitable site, such as the proposed aggregate pit at Line 7 and Old Barrie Road.
“This site looks like it has the best potential,” Hughes said. But Gord Roehner, who organized Tuesday’s public meeting against the proposed recycling facility, disagrees because it is 14 metres above the first aquifer of the Oro Moraine. He said he isn’t against TRY Recycling and their initiatives, but would like to see them choose another site.
Deputy mayor Ralph Hough said that isn’t easy because contrary to public opinion, the township doesn’t own a lot of industrial land that would be suitable for a project of this size.
“We own a few that are roughly one acre in size and most of these we’ve acquired through tax defaults and certainly none of them are big enough for this TRY Recycling project. Any other industrial commercial land is privately owned,” he said.
For example, the Guthrie industrial park is partly owned by an offshore company that doesn’t respond to any offers to purchase their land, Hough said.
If the township won’t look at another site, Roehner is requesting that he be allowed to have his own experts conduct environmental studies on the site. He said he is not against studies taking place, but would like to be included in the process.”We’re not against the studies. Go ahead with your studies. We don’t understand why we can’t go in with our own experts. You get your experts in and we get our experts in and maybe this is a good site,” he said. “I believe (TRY Recycling’s) consultants are very capable, but we’ll feel more comfortable with our own experts.”
Roehner said he is prepared to fight this TRY Recycling project to the bitter end and would even drop out of the fall municipal election race, where he is running for Ward 4 councillor, if it meant stopping the project.
“It means more to me fighting this water issue than it means becoming a councillor,” Roehner said, adding that depending on the direction this “fight” takes, will determine his decision. He is already planning another public meeting on the issue.
The dispute still has a long way to go because the township is only in the very early stages of the process with TRY Recycling. The township’s lease of the land clearly states that TRY Recycling can only advance to the study phase and that council can pull the pin at any point if they are unhappy with the results.
“It’s in its very, very early preliminary stages and as most projects that come to life, you’ve got to look at them before you can say yes or no, this is the right thing in the right place,” Hough said.