Site 41 – 5 Year Anniversary Party for Moratorium Vote
Friendship, Music and Celebration
From the Site 41 committee
It has been five years since a remarkable event that began an incredible journey. In May, 2009, Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians, along with the Stop Dump Site 41 group, hosted a special ‘Walk for Water’. It was a spring day full of hope for the future and all seemed committed to make a difference. A huge turnout included Dale Goldhawk, other media representatives, and musical guests.
The inspiring speeches, the huge number of people and the knowledge that this might be the last stand was inspiring. The last chance to protect our water and our children’s water! People from all colours and creeds, cottagers, the agricultural community and people from near and far joined hands together Shoulder to Shoulder.
First Nations people at the walk in May felt it was their sacred duty to protect the earth-to speak for the water. The five Anishinaabe Kweag decided to camp out for the weekend and respectfully asked locals for the use of a small parcel of land. The Firekeepers, youth and children joined them.
Thar weekend turned out to be 137 days!
They stayed through storms, floods and cold temperatures, dust and noise from County of Simcoe construction, police raids, and many other stressful situations. Their commitment and dedication impressed us all.
Once Simcoe County took out an injunction, things got quite serious. Under cross-examination by Vicki Monague’s lawyers Peter Rosenthal and Chris Reid, it was revealed that the decision to pursue court proceedings and an injunction was not made by Simcoe County Councillors, it was made by legal counsel and CAO Mark Aitken, and then-warden Tony Guergis.
This resulted in arrests of peaceful protesters and a lawsuit against Vicki Monague and Anne Ritchie Nahuis for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Simcoe County senior staff told the Ontario Superior Court they didn’t have the time or the means to tell county politicians about legal action to dismantle a Site 41 blockade and sue two women. County councillors were not even notified by email – they read about it in the paper.
Finally in the fall of 2009 Simcoe County councillors debated this controversial project. Shockingly, a debate had never occurred before construction. A huge majority 22-10 voted in favour of a one-year moratorium on the controversial development of the “Site 41” garbage dump in Tiny Township.
Another contentious matter remains the freedom-of-information request regarding a hydrogeological model. The county defied a provincial order from the IPC Commissioner Ann Cavoukian to release it. A press release from the IPC in August of 2009 decried the county’s actions:
“ ‘The County,’ IPC Adjudicator Colin Bhattacharjee says in today’s Order, ‘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 taxpayers’ money. I have decided to order the County to take all steps, including legal proceedings if necessary, to obtain the hydrogeological model and input data from Jagger Hims.’
“ ‘When institutions embark on ventures that will have major implications to the public, as is the case with Site 41, they must plan up-front to include access to information of public interest,’ said Commissioner Cavoukian. ‘I cannot stress enough the importance of freedom of information. If citizens are to participate meaningfully in the democratic process and hold politicians and bureaucrats accountable, they must have timely access to this type of information.’ ”
Later the Site 41 group went on to lobby the county to have special easements placed on Site 41 to protect it from ever becoming a landfill site. It will be kept in agriculture with the Ontario Farmland Trust. The Certificate of Approval was later removed from Site 41. The site was put up for public tender and is currently being farmed by Tony Nahuis, Roy Nahuis and Steven Nahuis.
We have much to celebrate!
Please come Saturday September 27th, 2014 for Sunrise Ceremony @ Site 41
(Concession 2 Tiny Township, east of County Road 6) at 7am.