• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

Citizen group fears ‘another Site 41’ on Oro Moraine

In Oro-Medonte
Jul 16th, 2010

TRY Recycling wants to establish operation in Oro-Medonte
Putting a recycling operation on the Oro Moraine could create “another Site 41,” says the organizer of an upcoming meeting.
Gord Roehner, a member of a group of concerned Oro-Medonte Township citizens, wants members of the public to attend a meeting Tuesday at Oro Town Hall to learn more about the plans for the project.
For about a year, the township has been working with London-based TRY Recycling, which recycles material from construction sites and turns it into new products. TRY Recycling wants to set up shop in Oro-Medonte, and the township is considering allowing the project on what is now a gravel pit at Line 7 and Old Barrie Road. That property happens to be part of the Oro Moraine.
“It is well known that the Oro Moraine is a source of water for a large part of Simcoe County,” Roehner said. “Concerned citizens of the township are worried about contaminants that may enter the aquifers under the moraine from the proposed construction and demolition waste site on township lands.”
The first aquifer, he noted, is just 14 metres below the bottom of the excavated pit.
A guest speaker at the meeting will be Steve Ogden, who for more than 25 years was at the fore of a battle against putting a dump at Site 41 in Tiny Township.
“This is, basically, a potential other Site 41,” Roehner said.
Roehner is also upset that township council didn’t approve a request to have the citizens group bring in their own expert to look at the site.
“As a matter of courtesy, some of the citizens asked the township for permission to have their own experts, one of which is a professor of hydrology at the University of Toronto, attend the site to determine if there is any reason for concern,” he said.
The request was turned down at Wednesday’s council meeting.
Mayor Harry Hughes defended the decision, noting council “had no idea what credentials they have.” That information and other specific details were not included in the group’s written request, Hughes said.
“I don’t think there’s any council in this world that would give approval based on that scanty information,” he said.
Hughes also took the group to task for what he said was misinformation. For example, on a flier the group has distributed regarding next week’s meeting, it is stated that “Oro-Medonte council has agreed to put a construction and demolition waste site” on the property.
No final decisions have been made, Hughes said, adding council can still back out.
A couple of weeks ago, the township signed a lease with TRY Recycling. The intention in signing the lease was to allow tests and assessments of the property to be completed at TRY Recycling’s expense. The lease includes a clause that permits the township to pull out if they’re not satisfied with the results.
“I think we’re handling this in a very careful and thorough manner,” Hughes said.

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