C-K councillors collectively oppose proposed landfill near Dresden

0
245

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Chatham-Kent council isn’t happy about the proposed landfill expansion near Dresden by York1 and they are letting the company – and the province – know.

Following a presentation by C-K director of planning services Ryan Jacques at Monday’s council meeting, council approved a detailed motion from North Kent Coun. Jamie McGrail that includes sending a letter to provincial environment minister Andrea Khanjin indicating the community’s displeasure.

McGrail urged her fellow councillors to take immediate action as the deadline for public comment on the expansion ends mid-March.

“This is really important to get on this,” McGrail stressed. “March 16 is coming quickly

The motion states that Chatham-Kent is opposed to the project in principle, asking the province to reject the application.

But if it doesn’t, the municipality wants to see the ministry conduct a full-on environmental assessment to determine the impact the facility will have on the community.

Support for the motion was unanimous, as was the two-thirds vote required to bring the motion forward at its first introduction.

Mayor Darrin Canniff didn’t mince words in condemning York1’s actions.

“I’m really pissed off about this – am I allowed to say that?” Canniff asked, noting York1 has “done nothing” to communicate their plan to municipal officials.

“They come in and we find out about it through a filing through the province,” Canniff stated. “And on top of all that, they don’t offer up so much as 10 cents of community benefits.

“There’s been zero communication. They’re trying to shove this down our throats and it’s very frustrating,” the mayor said. “I’m glad that as council we are moving forward with this and two/thirds in doing this tonight to make a statemen to them. They’re not treating us as partners in all of this. Zip, zero, zilch as far as partnership.”

East Kent Coun. Steve Pinsonneault, who is also vying for the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP’s seat for the Progressive Conservatives, was blunt in his assessment, citing the project’s many impacts, including threats to water, water wells and species at risk.

“I share the same concerns that the residents in Dresden do,” Pinsonneault said. “I feel bad for the two local councillors – they took the brunt of it – but we had no idea any of this was coming.

“With 160 trucks a day going into this site, everybody is going to feel the brunt of this through our infrastructure, our roads. In order for this to go forward, we should be a willing community, and we’re not,” Pinsonneault said. “I suggest that York1 look for a different site. I don’t think this is a good fit for anybody.”

The York1 landfill expansion came to light when the application was posted on the Environment Registry of Ontario at the end of January, with a public comment window of 45 days, concluding March 16. Twelve neighbours of the facility were also issued letters, which some shared with local media.

Both McGrail and fellow Ward 4 councillor Rhonda Jubenville, who collaborated with McGrail on the motion, voiced their concerns with the plan, emphasizing the fact that the municipality was blindsided by the company’s application to expand.

Jubenville said she wanted the people of Dresden and Chatham-Kent to know “we’re doing what we can to be responsible, and support the people and what they feel is best.”

Opposing the project is the “will of Dresden” and the surrounding area, McGrail said. “No doubt, this is it. Let’s move this forward and go from here.”

When questioned by McGrail about legislative protections, C-K legal director Dave Taylor told council the municipality isn’t involved as the application is considered to be an expansion at a site that’s already zoned, not a new application. Only provincial approval is needed.

In a mini-history lesson, Jacques explained the site operated as a tile yard for 70 years, mining clay to create drainage tiles. Under the Environmental Protection Act in 1998, the site was approved for the storage, transfer and processing of non-hazardous waste for waste wood disposal, with a maximum of 75 tonnes accepted per day.

After Dresden started to incinerate its garbage, the Irish School Road site was also used to accept incinerated ash, and that approval remains.

According to Jacques, York1 purchased the site in December of 2022, and through a different arm of the company they purchased two adjoining farms in October 2023.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here