Simcoe County moving forward on Environmental Resource Recovery Centre
By Janis Ramsay Simcoe.com
After several months of red tape, the county is moving ahead with site plans for its composting facility.
Plans for the Environmental Resource Recovery Centre, at 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road W., were on hold after the county requested a Minister’s Zoning Order to expedite the process. In August, that request was denied; however, the county has learned it is able to continue the process after a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal partial ruling was issued.
The facility site is located in the 207-acre Freele Forest of Springwater Township, where organic material will be sorted and processed. The purpose of the facility is to process organic green-bin materials into compost and fertilizer for local farmers.
The province had already approved the plan, which will cost an estimated $15 million for the materials management facility, and $16 to $30 million for the organic processing facility, depending on the technology used.
But The Friends of Simcoe Forest and two neighbours had appealed the plan in 2019, taking issue with the site-selection process, noise, odour and noting the woodland is home to endangered species and should remain untouched.
In the latest ruling, appeal tribunal vice-chair Susan de Avellar Schiller said there are no issues with the site-selection process, but further clarification is needed from the Friends of Simcoe Forest on their objections. Future hearing dates are still to come.
“County planning and legal staff are satisfied with the outcome of the decision,” special projects supervisor Jen Slykhuis wrote in her report to county council. “Proceeding through the (appeal) process has already delayed the project and will continue to do so. In addition to the internal and external resources this requires, the county is also jeopardizing the provincial grant received from the Continuous Improvement Fund, a total of $2.2 million, if this project is not operational by the end of 2023.”
Slykhuis noted site studies are near completion, including fire, wastewater, noise and groundwater monitoring. If the plans come together, construction should begin in January 2023.
The Friends of Simcoe Forests said the group is not opposed to the project, but takes issue with the location of the facility in a Simcoe County Forest.