How did they vote?
Revocation of the Site 41 Certificate of Approval (2), zoning change and covenants
On May 25, 2010, moved by Councillor Little, seconded by Councillor Wauchope, THAT with respect to the North Simcoe Landfill Site, staff be instructed to request the revocation of the Certificate of Approval from the Ministry of Environment and provide a subsequent report for Council’s consideration with respect to the disposition of the site and associated properties.
An amendment was moved by Councillor Lawrence and seconded by Councillor Hough THAT a zoning by-law be enacted to ensure that the Site 41 property be returned to its original zoning.
AND THAT covenants be placed on the property to ensure it is not used for waste management purposes save and except for residential domestic septic/ sewage systems.
The amendement was CARRIED
YEAS: Breckenridge; Carrier; Cox; Dowdall; Downer; Duffy; Foster; Hackney; Hope; Hough; Hughes; Ladouceur; Lawrence; Leroux; MacEachern; Milne; and Warnock.
NAYS: Clarke; Cooper; Dubeau; Ferguson; Tony Guergis; Jackson; Little; Patterson; Savage; Sled; Walsh; Wauchope and White.
The resolution as amended was put to the vote and CARRIED.
YEAS: Breckenridge; Carrier; Clarke; Cooper; Cox; Dowdall; Downer; Dubeau; Duffy; Foster; Tony Guergis; Hackney; Hope; Hough; Hughes; Jackson; Ladouceur; Lawrence; Leroux; MacEachern; Milne; Patterson; and Warnock.
NAYS: Ferguson; Little; Savage; Sled; Walsh; Wauchope and White
Revocation of the Site 41 Certificate of Approval (1)
On September 22, 2009, after a summer of opposition, councillors voted on three key motions. The first was an amendiment to the main motion which was to halt future development of Dump Site 41, at that time just weeks away from opening. It called for revocation of the certificate of approval for the site, which would have ensured that the ill-advised project, after 25 years of political manoeuvering, was finally dead. But the majority of councillors decided to keep the certificate “for now.” Why?
MOVED BY: Chris Carrier (Collingwood), SECONDED BY: Ruth Hackney (Midland)
THAT Councillor Little’s Notice of Motion be amended by the addition of the following:
AND THAT application be made to the Ministry of the Environment to revoke the Certificate of Approval for the North Simcoe Landfill Site.
Resolution was DEFEATED
YEAS: Peggy Breckenridge (Tiny); Chris Carrier (Collingwood); Jim Downer (Midland); Ruth Hackney (Midland); Tony Hope (Springwater); George Lawrence (Tiny); and Scott Warnock (Tay)
NAYS: Basil Clarke (Ramara); Sandra Cooper (Collingwood); Judith Cox (Severn); Terry Dowdall (Essa); Anita Dubeau (Penetanguishene); Bill Duffy (Ramara); Ken Ferguson (Clearview); Dave Guergis (Essa); Tony Guergis (Springwater); Ralph Hough (Oro-Medonte); Harrye Hughes (Oro-Medonte); Brian Jackson (Innisfil ); Mike Ladouceur (Tay); Doug Leroux (Penetanguishene); Doug Little (Adjala-Tosorontio); Mike MacEachern (New Tecumseth); Cal Patterson (Wasaga Beach); Dennis Roughley (Bradford West Gwillimbury); Alicia Savage (Clearview); Phil Sled (Severn); Tom Walsh (Adjala Tosorontio); and Doug White (Bradford West Gwillimbury).
Closing down Dump Site 41
With the amendment defeated (keeping their options open, as per the advice contained in an internal message from CAO Mark Aitken), councillors voted on the main resolution to close down Dump Site 41. It passed 26-3 (weighted vote 93-13)
MOVED BY: Doug Little (Adjala-Tosorontio) SECONDED BY: Anita Dubeau (Penetanguishene)
THAT construction and all future development of the North Simcoe Landfill Site (Site 41) be discontinued.
Resolution was CARRIED
YEAS: Breckenridge; Carrier; Clarke; Cooper; Cox;
Dowdall; Downer; Dubeau; Duffy; Ferguson; Dave Guergis; Tony Guergis; Hackney; Hope; Hough; Hughes; Jackson; Ladouceur; Lawrence; Leroux; Little; MacEachern; Patterson; Savage; Walsh; and Warnock.
NAYS: Roughley; Sled; and White.
Hiring Fleishman Hillard for $250,000
This resolution was on an “update” report dated Sept. 10 from the performance management committee. The report did not mention the $250,000 amount. The resolution authorizing hiring of Fleishman Hillard was passed by County Council Aug. 25 with no discussion after an in-camera meeting That Aug. 25 resolution was disguised. All it said was: “Confidential regarding the security of the property of the municipality and advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege.” This resolution, the first public airing of Council’s actions, was passed 16-13 (weighted vote 62-44)
MOVED BY: Cal Patterson (Wasaga Beach) SECONDED BY: Doug White (Bradford-West Gwillimbury)
THAT the mandate of the communications strategy involving public relations be confirmed as per Item PM 09-116; AND THAT the funding in the amount of $250,000 be approved.
Resolution was CARRIED
YEAS: Breckenridge; Carrier; Clarke; Cooper; Dubeau; Ferguson; Dave Guergis; Tony Guergis; Jackson; Leroux; Patterson; Roughley; Savage; Sled; Walsh; and White.
NAYS: Cox; Dowdall; Downer; Duffy; Hackney; Hope; Hough; Hughes; Ladouceur; Lawrence; Little; MacEachern; and Warnock.
The Moratorium vote
On August 25 2009, moved by Councillor Breckenridge, seconded by Councillor MacEachern, THAT Simcoe County immediately halt construction and any further development of waste facilities at Site 41 for a period of at least one year so that;
i) the public release, and independent review, of all pertinent information concerning the environmental impacts of operating a waste facility at Site 41 can occur;
ii) meaningful consultations take place with local residents and cottagers, First Nations Groups and other organizations that have raised concerns about the environmental impacts of establishing a waste facility at Site 41; and that
iii) the suitability of Site 41 for waste management use be assessed in light of the source water protection planning mandated by the Clean Water Act
Resolution was CARRIED
YEAS: Breckenridge; Carrier; Clarke; Cox; Dowdall; Downer; Dubeau; Duffy; Foster; Hackney; Hope; Hough; Hughes; Jackson; Ladouceur; Lawrence; Leroux; MacEachern; Milne; Patterson; Walsh; and Warnock
NAYS: Cooper; Ferguson; Guergis d.; Guergis T.; Little; Roughley; Savage; Sled; Wauchope and White
The preliminary work vote
On June 26 2007, moved by councillor Little, seconded by councillor Breckenridge THAT staff be directed to begin preliminary on-site construction of Site 41 in 2007. (Approval of the project as a whole was snuck in as a line item in the 2008-2009 budget).
Resolution was CARRIED 16-15 (63-54 by weighted vote)
YEAS: Cooper (4); Dowdall (3); Dubeau (2); Ferguson (3); Guergis D. (4);
Guergis T. (4); Jackson (7); Leroux (2); Little (2); MacEachern (5);
Milne (5); Roughley (4); Savage (3); Sled (4); Wauchope (6);
and White (5) – TOTAL – 63
NAYS: Councillors Breckenridge (5); Carrier (5); Clarke (3); Cox (3); Downer (4);
Duffy (3); Hackney (3); Hope (3) Hough (4); Hughes (4); Ladouceur (2);
Lawrence (5); Patterson (5); Walsh (2); and Warnock (3) – TOTAL – 54
Where is Site 41?
Tiny Concession 2, northeast of Elmvale, ON
Why Tony Guergis won’t be re-elected
This is what Tony Guergis said when running for Mayor of Springwater in 2006.
Guergis speaks, November 2006 all-candidates’ meeting
“Issues that I see facing the municipality over the next term. First and I want to be clear on this one: Dump Site 41. I have been, I am now and I will continue to oppose and vote against Dump Site 41.”
Within weeks of the election he ran for county warden (a position voted on by the 32 mayors and deputy mayors who make up Simcoe County Council) and reneged on his campaign pledge, turning into an ardent advocate for Dump Site 41.
What’s the big deal about the water?
In 2006, University of Heidelberg Professor William Shotyk, a world-renowned scientist whose research sets an international benchmark for measuring the effects of human activities on water, tested the water at Dumpsite 41.Dr. Shotyk found that levels for metals (like lead, which causes brain damage) are a fraction of that level acceptable as the Ontario standard. The water is so free of contaminants that it’s comparable to 5,000-6,000 year-old Arctic ice core sources. Simcoe County dismisses these results and says it is “misleading” to say that this is the cleanest water in the world. That’s only misleading if we consider that not all of the fresh water in the world has been tested.
Professor Shotyk has tested this water for 35 elements and recently added another six. His sampling has continued throughout 2007, 2008, and 2009. Plainly, this water’s purity is the standard against which all other Ontario’s and Canada’s fresh waters should be measured. It is one of the most pristine sources ever discovered and now scientifically verified.
As anyone who drinks this water can tell you, it tastes wonderful! (Check it out at the public flow on the east site of Highway 27 north of Elmvale).
Who owns the Site 41 property?
The County of Simcoe owns Site 41 and has also purchased the adjacent property east of Site 41. The County also owns the Certificate of Approval, granted by the Ontario government, and there is nothing except the promises made by politicians to stop the sale of the land and the certificate to a private operator.
What municipalities did Simcoe County intend to serve at this site?
The towns of Midland and Penetanguishene, and Tay and Tiny Townships have been licensed by the Certificate of Approval to be served by Site 41.
How large is Site 41 and what was its projected lifespan?
69.72 hectares with a permitted landfill area of 20.675 acres. The total volume of waste and daily cover allowed for the whole life of the site 1.6 million cubic metres. The lifespan is estimated at 34 years. The warranty against leakage on the seams of the plastic liner contracted to be used in the site is for two years.
Who is in charge of Waste Management?
The County of Simcoe waste management recommendations are made to County Council’s Corporate Services Committee and/or the Waste Management sub-committee. Presently a Waste Strategy steering committee, made up of five public members and five county councillors, is working with consultant Stantec to come up with recommendations for waste management for the next 20 years. The councillor members of the committee are Chair Gord Wauchope (Innisfil), Phil Sled (Severn) Bill Duffy (Ramara) Doug Little (Adjala-Tosorontio) and Warden Cal Patterson. The public members are Vice-chair Gord McKay, Mary Munnoch, Nickolas Rowe, Mark Guthrie and John Nychuk.
What is the modflow controversy?
Jagger Hims, the engineering firm hired by Simcoe County to conduct feasibility studies on Site 41, has defied orders from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commission to release the calibrated computer model (modflow) used in a study that concluded Site 41 would be safe and leachate would be contained by upward gradients. Jagger Hims is now owned by waste and engineering multinational Genivar. Further reading: What contract, Mr. Patterson? and Genivar relationship trumps transparency, as well as IPC correspondence and orders on the Media Coverage page of this website.
What is the Alliston Aquifer?
The Alliston aquifer was the first groundwater complex to be mapped by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in 1976, based on its “major extent and significant potential for development”. It extends from Georgian Bay and beneath Lake Simcoe and is thought to continue south of the protected Oak Ridges Moraine. The preservation of the aquifer is important since it is used as a primary water source by numerous municipalities and also discharges into creeks and rivers which eventually flow into Georgian Bay, Lake Simcoe, Lake Scugog and Lake Ontario.
The approximate coverage of the Alliston Aquifer (image below) is from an overlay posted on the Council of Canadians website here (you can log onto their site and zoom in on the map that they have there). Although the overlap does not show it, it extends under Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe.
Rethink decision to locate dump on site of aquifer
This summary by Maude Barlow and David Crombie was published in the Toronto Star on July 26, 2009, at the height of the confrontation between Simcoe County and the Anishinabe Kweag, farmers, cottagers and environmentalists.
Cool weather has not chilled hot passions in a showdown in the rolling hills of Simcoe County’s Tiny Township.
There, First Nations women, farmers, local residents, seniors and students have come together to protest Site 41 – a planned dumpsite that will sit atop the Alliston aquifer, an underground water reservoir that extends from Georgian Bay to Lake Simcoe and the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Site 41 has been hotly contested for more than 15 years, but the Ministry of the Environment finally signed off on the permit and a badly divided county council allowed excavation to begin in early summer.
Recently, a growing chorus of voices has called for a one-year moratorium in order to hold the public hearings that never took place and to allow for an independent scientific assessment of the model used to grant the permit, which has never been made public. Proponents of Site 41 question the reason for a moratorium and claim they know enough about the project to move ahead.
However, there are several new developments that would justify a moratorium.
First, the permit was granted on the belief that the water in the aquitard (below the surface but above the aquifer) flows upward, and that garbage will pose no threat to the aquifer. It was in fact a condition for granting the permit that the site have uninterrupted “upward gradients.”
However, several recent observations tell a different story. A monitoring well on the site shows signs that there is a connection between the upper groundwater and the aquifer, which would be a violation of the permit conditions.
In fact, an independent hydrogeologist, the late David Charlesworth, warned county council that water in the aquitard was in some places flowing downward, which could put the aquifer at risk. The method used to grant the Site 41 permit was “fundamentally flawed,” he declared.
Second, since the Alliston aquifer was chosen for a dumpsite many years ago, much has been learned in Canada and around the world about the need to protect watersheds and water basins. In 2006, recognizing the crucial need to protect Ontario’s water resources, the government passed the Clean Water Act, which states that stopping contaminants from getting into our drinking water supplies is the first line of defence in protecting our environment and our health. Ontario Environment Commissioner Gordon Miller has stated that if the decision were to be taken today, the Alliston aquifer would never have been chosen for a dumpsite.
Finally, opposition to Site 41 has grown dramatically. In a recent online poll, 85 per cent of local residents supported the blockade to stop construction. Politicians from all political parties, provincial and federal environmental groups and respected leaders such as David Suzuki have come together to protect the aquifer, the source of drinking water so clean that it is referred to as “reference water” – the gold standard of water quality – by a university laboratory in Germany.
Does Simcoe County Council want to be known as the community that put a dumpsite on the purist water in the world? Or can we all step back now and call a one-year halt while we decide how best to be stewards of this water for the future?
Former Toronto mayor David Crombie is a resident of Tiny Township. Maude Barlow is senior adviser on water to the president of the UN and national chairperson of the Council of Canadians.