Ogden replies to Roughley and White on Site 41
Comment on SDS41 website by Stephen Ogden in response to Bradford Times article – May 9 2010
What an interesting perspective by Deputy Mayor Roughley and Mayor White.
I have a different view. Please allow me to fill in the blanks. Deputy Mayor Roughley is correct in pointing out that Site 41 had been selected before the County took control in 1990 and that the MOE agreed it was a good site. Why wouldn’t the MOE agree? They are the ones that advised the North Simcoe politicians that they would accept a landfill in the clay plain because it would make for a good regional dump.
Deputy Mayor Roughley failed to say the Environmental Assessment Joint Board called the selection of Site 41 a fiasco and recognized from the 68 days of evidence that there was predisposition to select Site 41 which suggested bias. The Joint Board went on to refuse to grant approval of Site 41. The selection and final approval of Site 41 was only the direct result of the intervention of the Provincial Government.
On December 16, 2004 Mr. James O’Mara, Director, Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch wrote to me on behalf of the MOE: “The project was approved through an Order in Council. Orders in Council are official documents implementing Government decisions concerned with day-to-day operation of the Province.”
Deputy Mayor Roughley goes on to ask – why wouldn’t he agree with the “science,” and the MOE who say it’s a good place for a landfill site? We all now know that the calibrated model relied upon by the MOE to approve the site design was never seen by the peer reviewers, including the MOE who issued the Certificate of Approval. Even now the County has refused to take all necessary actions to access the calibrated model from Jagger Hims (Genivar), preferring to take the IPC to court. The lack of transparency makes all of the science suspect. Dr. David Charlesworth, the CMC’s hydrogeologist, called the calibrated model fundamentally flawed.
The MOE supported all of the scientific evidence given throughout the Environmental Assessment process. In fact the Joint Board, in its 1989 decision to refuse the Site 41 undertaking wrote that the residents would never again trust the experts, especially the MOE.
Those are just two reasons I cannot agree that Site 41 is a good site. In fact I believe they couldn’t have found a worse site.
Apparently the County has spent at least $20 million on Site 41, including $13 million on the site itself. There is no way the public can verify how much money has been spent. The Corporate Services Report CS 10-2010 dated May 12, 2010 gives a total of approximately $13.7 million as the hard costs relating to the development of the North Simcoe Landfill site. In speaking to a number of County Councillors, they too had no idea as to the total cost of the undertaking.
So the opponents of Site 41, “in Roughley’s belief,” didn’t have any alternatives? In 1990, the Why WYE citizens group proposed North Simcoe as a Demonstration Community. “Say no to Landfill. There is another way.” The Provincial Government was in support, however the County wanted Site 41 and chose to ignore the obvious. Zero Waste.
In 2005, when Deputy Mayor Roughley served as Warden of Simcoe County, the Minister of Environment Laurel G Broten wrote to the County of Simcoe and encouraged them to consider new and emerging technologies. No real evidence of that taking place.
More recently Zero Waste Simcoe has lobbied the County of Simcoe to become engaged. Yes, alternatives have been proposed. I personally disagree that we need more landfill sites.
Mayor White quotes the $20 million spent “to get nowhere.” For just a moment, let’s talk about the $5 million plus that was spent on the South Simcoe Waste Management Master Plan that ended in the failure to develop a landfill site in South Simcoe in January of 2001. The Minister of the Environment issued a Notice of Refusal. Not one of the South Simcoe municipalities put forth an option for future disposal. As a result the solution became the transfer of waste to other County facilities. This would also have included Site 12 in Clearview. I think the South Simcoe Municipalities took the first right step in voting to never again have any new dumps. So you have to ask the obvious question. Why did BWG think it was okay to build Site 41 and reopen Site 12? Maybe Mayor White should explain why BWG voted against dumps in their backyard but fought aggressively to build Site 41, incurring those unnecessary costs to his taxpayers.