Burying Site 41
By Miriam King Bradford Times May 27 2010
On May 25, the County of Simcoe finally laid to rest the controversial North Simcoe Landfill site, better known as Site 41. Following the vote in September 2009 to halt construction of the new landfill, County Council has now voted to ask the province to revoke the Certificate of Approval for the dump – and by a narrow margin, to return the zoning of the land to Agricultural.
It’s the final chapter in a tale of mismanagement and dissension at the County.
Let’s be clear: we have never supported putting a landfill on prime agricultural land, that is also the headwaters of at least two pristine creeks that ultimately flow into Georgian Bay. But the County has missed numerous opportunities to find a solution to its solid waste management challenges. It took nearly a decade to move from a “pilot project” organics program, to extending that program to all 16 member municipalities.The County refused to consider partnerships with the private sector or other municipalities, adopting a policy that it would neither export nor import waste – a policy that the consultants are now recommending the County scrap.
Since taking on responsibility for solid waste management in 1990, the County has been slow to act, slower to consider alternatives, until it was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st Century by the national publicity surrounding Site 41.
And the Northern municipalities, whose waste would have gone to Site 41, have been the most retrograde of all. They have taken a N.I.M.B.Y. stance, while sending their garbage to fill up other landfill sites across Simcoe County.
So where do we go from here? We will all have to be more conscious of recycling and composting, and pressure the province to bring in regulations to reduce and divert packaging – in the same vein as the new electronic waste collection program. We’ll need monitoring, to ensure recyclables don’t end up in landsfill, and stronger post-consumer marketing.
But “zero waste”? Really?