No environmental committee for BWG
Waste Strategies… Calling for Zero Waste in Simcoe Co.
By Miriam King Bradford West Gwillimbury Times November 26 2009
With construction of the Site 41 dump halted and only 10 years of landfill capacity remaining, the question is – how will the County deal with solid waste?
Andrea Matrosovs, of Zero Waste Simcoe, came to BWG Council on November 17 to propose a solution: “Adopt a zero waste philosophy in Simcoe County… Rather than have those natural resources end up in landfill, re-use our resources over and over again, and cut back.”
She noted that the Provincial government is already drafting legislation that would require producers to take responsibility for all aspects of their products, from manufacture to post-consumer disposal. “It does require a government framework,” she said, one that in the end shifts the cost of waste disposal and recovery from the municipality, to the producer and the consumer. Landfill, she said, should be the last resort.
“Simcoe County has already started on the path of zero waste,” Matrosovs noted. With recycling and Green Bin organics collection, the County has achieved 60% diversion from landfill, “but surely there is more that can be done. .. We need to focus on reducing what we have, instead of where we’re going to put it.”
While most of the framework requires action on the federal, provincial and regional level (it is the County that is mandated by legislation to deal with solid waste management), she recommended a number of actions that are doable on the municipal level, to move towards a Zero Waste philosophy – and 95% diversion.
. Conduct a waste audit, to determine where the municipality can cut down garbage production at its own facilities.
. Install waste systems that “deliver zero waste” – e.g., instead of having just garbage bins in parks and at facilities, also install recycling and organics bins.
. Change the By-laws – e.g., require anyone seeking a demolition permit to meet waste diversion targets.
. Educate the public.
. Provide leadership,”Walking the talk.”
Councillor James Leduc attempted to use the presentation as a springboard to push for an “environmental advisory committee” – a committee that was voted down on Nov. 10, because Council felt there is not enough time before the next municipal election to establish terms of reference and appoint members.
Leduc proposed the committee back in September, “to help out with issues in our community that are environmentally-based – like streetlighting, garbage, anything that makes us greener.”
After Matrosovs’ comments, Mayor Doug White said, “I think the focus needs to be at higher levels of government.” He pointed out that the County is looking at a revenue shortfall of more than $300,000 – largely because the bottom has dropped out of the market for recyclables. “I think we all buy into ‘zero waste’. I think the question is, how long it’s going to take to get there, and who’s going to pony up.”
Leduc said he was “shocked” Council had voted down the Environmental Advisory Committee, a committee that “could educate our children, could educate the public… It’s important that we do it as soon as possible to get it going. This Council has a responsibility to its residents to do what’s right for them.”
He added that his goal was to leave the world a better place – and raised the spectre of the Love Canal, a toxic chemical dump that caused the evacuation of an entire neighbourhood in Niagara Falls, NY. in the 1970s.
Councillor Del Crake replied that everyone’s goal is to leave the world a better place, “but to jump into this going into the fourth year of this council is in my opinion, not the right thing to do. You should leave this until the next Council, so it can be done right. No one on this Council is against environmental issues… but let’s do it right.”
In a recorded voted, Council voted 5-4 not to establish an Environmental Advisory Committee at this time.
– with Mayor Doug White, Deputy Mayor Dennis Roughley, and Councillors John McCallum, Del Crake and Ron Simpson voting in favor; Councillors Jeanny Salmon, Leduc, Peter Dykie Jr. and Mark Contois against the motion.