OPINION: Too many unknowns

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Imagine Chatham-Kent being host to a facility that endeavours to recycle almost all the rubbish that is trucked into it.

Sounds great for the environment, right?

Or how about hosting a site that is grinding up materials and having trucks deliver waste at all hours of the day and night, with the fear that anything put into a landfill there could send contaminants into a nearby creek?

The former is kind of what York1 officials say they want to do on Irish School Road just outside of Dresden. But the latter is what area residents worry will become the reality.

There are some glaring concerns.

First off, the company has so far barely dealt with the municipality, communicated briefly with the conservation authority overseeing the area where they want to set up this facility, and seems intent on gobbling up nearby property.

Provincial regulations may state York1 has done nothing wrong to this point, getting its proverbial ducks in a row with the Ontario government, and only informing the municipality at the end of January.

But the smart way to go about this, if everything company officials claim on their website and in a recent public meeting are to be believed, would have been to be incredibly open right from the start.

Transparency allays suspicion. Let municipal officials and the public know from the very start what is planned for the property. Return calls to the media.

By holding one’s plans so close to one’s vest, trust will now be extremely hard to come by for York1.

The site may not be ideal. St. Clair Region Conservation Authority officials said part of the property is located on a flood plain. For landfill sites, a top, top priority is ensuring nothing leaches off the property. Being close to a creek and having land in a flood plain, given our increase of extreme weather events, does not sound like a smart environmental decision.

Then there is the proximity to a gem of a small-town community in Dresden. Seeking to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week does not sound enticing to nearby residents.

Having transport trucks come through the heart of Dresden at all hours also won’t win any friends.

York1, you have to do better.

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