• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Simcoe County get Dec. 18 ultimatum from IPC

In Simcoe County
Dec 11th, 2009

The following news release has been issued by the SDS41 group
Simcoe County to date has failed to comply
ELMVALE — The Information and Privacy Commissioner has issued an ultimatum to Simcoe County.The County, which has failed to comply with an August 21 IPC order, has two options. 
Either Ø Comply with Order MO-2449 that requires the County to take all steps to obtain a copy of the calibrated computer model [MODLFOW] relating to Dump Site 41 from consultant Jagger Hims [Genivar]
Or Ø Serve an application for a judicial review of the August 21 order no later than December 18
“Right now, the County is in breach of the order,” said Stephen Ogden, the applicant in the FOI request for the calibrated model. “This is an extremely serious situation.”
Ogden said he expects Cal Patterson, the newly elected County Warden, is considering how to sort out an expensive legal mess left by former warden Tony Guergis.
Ogden noted that during the summer, Guergis and County CAO Mark Aitken came under criticism from County Council for taking important decisions – such as launching a civil action against two Stop Dump Site 41 protesters- without consultation.
“I hope that all 31 other councillors are involved in any decision made here,” said Ogden, who launched his FOI request more than two years ago.
The strategy of Simcoe County’s legal advisers appears to have been one of supporting the Genivar position that the MODFLOW information is proprietary and should not be disclosed. This is at odds with the IPC view that the County paid for the model and taxpayers are entitled to have it made public.
“In my view, the County is continuing an unacceptable pattern of conduct in which it is deliberately disassociating itself from key records relating to the environmental integrity of Site 41, despite the fact that these records were created by Jagger Hims with the use of taxpayers’ money,” adjudicator Colin Bhattacharjee says in the August 21 order.
It’s time for Simcoe County to get fresh legal advice.
In an August 16 opinion letter relating to a May 13 IPC order on the MODFLOW, lawyer Peter Rosenthal suggested that an appropriate response by Simcoe County’s lawyers would have been to inform Genivar that, “should they fail to provide the records forthwith, the County of Simcoe will not engage them or any company owned by their parent company for any work beyond what we have presently contracted for.”
The Stop Dump Site 41 group regrets the fact that Simcoe County has spent so much money on legal fees fighting to resist production of the model. What are they trying to hide, especially now that the project is cancelled? We hope that Simcoe County Council can bring a speedy end to this matter.
Letter from the Information & Privacy Commissioner to E. Marshall Green, Simcoe County lawyer, Dec 8, 2009
IPC Order MO-2416 May 13, 2009

IPC Order MO-2449 Aug. 21, 2009
Rosenthal-Reid opinion letter Aug.16, 2009

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