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County cites ample development land for Amazon, but willing to use precious forest for waste facility?

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In Council Watch
Oct 31st, 2017
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Letter from Cindy Mercer, Springwater

I was very interested and intrigued to read that the County of Simcoe submitted a bid to invite Amazon to build their new facility in Simcoe County.

The County website states “Simcoe County meets all of the key requirements to satisfy the needs of Amazon HQ2.”

Included in the list provided by the County are the following:
► Greenfield options of at least 100 acres
► Proximity to major highways and arterial routes

The website goes on to say that Simcoe County presents Amazon with “good shovel-ready options”. My understanding is that 3 sizable potential locations were put forth by the County in the bid to Amazon.

This directly contradicts with my understanding of this county’s availability of sizable acreage suitable for development purposes.

I believe we are all well aware of the extensive opposition received from the public over the County of Simcoe’s decision to select from and choose one of our precious county forest tracts to build a new major waste management facility, referred to as the ERRC. County staff are still working diligently to obtain planning approvals to allow this industrial operation into the interior of a sensitive forest tract. I believe county staff continue to suggest that more suitable land for operations such as industrial use are not readily available in Simcoe County.

County of Simcoe staff appear to paint a bleak picture of available land for development in the County of Simcoe, in particular sizable parcels similar to what Amazon would require.

At a May 9, 2017 mandatory County Council meeting regarding the proposed Environmental Resource Recovery Centre, Debbie Korolnek, the County’s general manager of engineering, planning and environment, indicated existing industrial areas were considered. “It has to be a certain size and a suitable site did not come up through that process,” she said. “It has to be a certain size…

It appears as though The Economic Development Office at the County of Simcoe was able to offer Amazon what they consider to be 3 top choices of “good shovel-ready options” over 100 acres in size.

The proposed Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) requires far less land than Amazon’s HQ2 yet the County of Simcoe is planning to deface a county forest tract to build the ERRC.

Why would the County of Simcoe build infrastructure, invite heavy truck traffic and industrial operations into a forest when their proposal to Amazon indicates that there is no shortage of land in this county suitable for development?

It’s very encouraging to learn that this county has the means to offer a giant like Amazon a sizable location to build their facility. Why is this county not doing everything within their power to keep our forest tracts off the chopping block for development?

One Response to “County cites ample development land for Amazon, but willing to use precious forest for waste facility?”

  1. Mary Wagner says:

    Well said Cindy, let us all hold County staff and our elected officials accountable for offering up our precious forest resources to industrial development.

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