Fight against Dresden landfill continues

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Signs are sending a message locally, but opponents of the proposed York1 landfill/recycling development near Dresden urge concerned citizens to write to the province and let their opinions be known.

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Continue to make your concerns known.

That’s what opponents of the York1 Dresden landfill project are saying in response to the latest wrinkle in the saga of the proposed expansion of the dormant facility Irish School Road.

Posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario March 26, a document acknowledges that the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP) is aware of the flood of concerns from the community and wants to gather further input.

Located on the registry’s webpage, the document states, “We are proposing to designate York1 Environmental Waste Solutions Ltd. to re-establish landfill operations and re-establish and expand on-site waste transfer and processing operations in Chatham-Kent,” as part of a project under the Environmental Assessment Act to require a comprehensive environmental assessment of the project.

But even though MECP minister Andrea Khanjin has stated that a full environmental assessment will be conducted on the York1 proposal, members of Dresden Citizens Against Reckless Environmental Disposal (C.A.R.E.D.) aren’t convinced the community is in the clear.

“Without a sitting member of provincial parliament, it’s every citizen’s job to look out for the community and let the government know that Dresden is opposed,” said C.A.R.E.D. executive member Stefan Premdas.

He added that while the announcement of the EA has spawned cautious optimism, the assessment could still be used as a “stepping stone to create a facility we don’t want.

“We can only hope the environmental assessment will show all the reasons, in a scientific way, why this is a bad idea,” Premdas stressed.

Khanjin’s pledge that a comprehensive EA would be conducted on the project – issued via a X (Twitter) post – caps off a tumultuous two months starting at the end of January when the public became aware of an application by York1 to dramatically expand land use at the site.

The GTA-based company is looking to build a regenerative recycling facility and expand the current landfill to receive demolition construction waste and soil. The company is seeking permission to operate around the clock, seven days a week, which could see as many as 700 trucks a day hauling debris to the site.

The wave of protest against the project continues. Opponents say the sensitive Sydenham River watershed will be contaminated; critical farmland will be affected; infrastructure will be overloaded and quality of life and land values will plummet for people living near the facility.

The Dresden landfill has become a hot-button political topic with leaders and environmental critics from all opposing parties calling on the Ontario government to nix the project.

Both the Municipality Chatham-Kent and nearby Township of Dawn-Euphemia in Lambton County have expressed opposition to the project as host communities.

C-K Mayor Darrin Canniff said that while the EA announcement is encouraging, the fight needs to continue.

“Everybody needs to make their feelings known, not just in groups, but as individuals,” Canniff said.

There’s a 45-day window to receive public comments, ending May 10. These can be submitted online or mailed to Dresden Landfill Comments, Environmental Assessment Branch, 135 St. Clair Avenue W, Toronto, Ont., M4V 1P5.

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