Ontario Municipalities to be given right to approve new landfill proposals

Ontario Municipalities to be given right to approve new landfill proposals

With introduction of new legislation, Ingersoll Council’s long effort nears a successful conclusion.

 Press Release from the Town of Ingersoll

INGERSOLL, ONTARIO, July 8, 2020 — The three-year effort of Ingersoll Council to champion landfill approval rights for local communities has achieved a significant milestone. The Ontario Government has introduced legislation that will provide municipal governments with the right to approve all new landfill projects. The legislation provides that municipalities within 3.5km of a proposed landfill site – whether a host municipality, or a neighbouring municipality – will have the right to approve or reject these projects. If a landfill site proponent has not received this municipal approval, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MOECP) would not approve its proposal.

Prior to this new legislation being passed, private sector waste companies had no obligation to gain the support of the local municipal governments. While a community like Ingersoll may have objected to becoming home to a new landfill site, the provincial government’s longstanding environmental assessment process effectively tied the hands of Town Council to demand any changes, including whether or not to allow the project to proceed at all.

These changes to Ontario’s Environmental Assessment legislation will give each of the municipal councils of Ingersoll, Southwest Oxford, and Zorra Township, the opportunity to vote on whether or not to approve Walker Industries’ proposed project to build and operate a 17 million tonne landfill site in a Zorra quarry.

“The legislation will ensure that each municipal council will be able to vote NO to Walker’s proposed project,” said Ingersoll Mayor, Ted Comiskey. “Such a no vote by any Council would mean that Walker would be unable to receive approval from the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks.”

To develop the support of the provincial government, Ingersoll Council created the Demand the Right Coalition of Ontario Municipalities (www.demandtheright.ca). With Mayor Comiskey acting as its Chair, the Coalition grew to 148 municipalities representing over 70 percent of Ontario’s population. Each of these communities passed Council Motions demanding that the wishes of municipal governments and their citizens be respected for all new landfills anywhere in the province.

Comiskey said, “On behalf of Ingersoll Council, I wish to express our sincere appreciation to Premier Ford for keeping his election promise and Environment Minister Yurek for his work to develop and introduce this legislation. We are especially appreciative for the efforts of Ernie Hardeman who first championed local approval and has continued to pursue the issue as our MPP.”

During the legislative process, details can change. The Town will actively participate in the process, updating the community on a regular basis, and until the legislation is passed into law.

“As it will likely take through the summer for the legislation to pass,” Comiskey said, “we’ll hold off any big celebration. I am optimistic, but we have much more work to do. It will be important for local residents to make sure their own town council knows where they stand.”

Please also see the CBC story.

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