Spencerville – At a community meeting on Wednesday night in Spencerville, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark announced the Ontario government has revoked the Environmental Approval for the ED-19 landfill site.
The approval was originally granted to the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville in 1998, but the landfill was never developed. In making the decision, the Hon. Jeff Yurek, Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, considered whether the 1998 approval sufficiently protects the environment and the public interest.
“Our government is committed to ensuring landfills are designed, constructed and managed in a way that protects communities and keeps our air, land and water clean
and healthy,” said Clark. “On behalf of everyone who has sent emails and letters, made calls and attended rallies, I want to thank Minister Yurek for listening to the concerns of our community about the negative impact on the environment of any proposal to develop the ED-19 site.”
Clark was joined at the rally by Leeds-Grenville Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MP Michael Barrett and Kyle Johnston of the Citizens Against the Dump (CAD).
“This decision is a win for the people of Leeds and Grenville. MPP Clark listened to his constituents and to the members of CAD, and he and his government delivered for
them. On behalf of CAD, I would like to thank MPP Clark and the government for protecting our local environment for future generations, homes, jobs and our rural way
of life,” said Johnston.
Citizens Against the ED-19 Dump (CAD) is a non-profit group of local residents who remain opposed to the construction of the landfill, and who are concerned about its potential impacts on public health, well water quality, and wildlife habitat. CAD was particularly outraged at the Counties’ plan to sell the site and its approvals to a
private company for an entirely different purpose than what was assessed in the 1990s.
In May 2017, CAD retained the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) to file an application that requested the Minister to reconsider the approval under section 11.4 of the Environmental Assessment Act. Among other things, this application noted that significant changes in circumstances and site conditions had occurred after the approval was issued two decades ago.
CELA said in a press release “In light of these changes, the Minister announced that he has decided it is in the public interest to revoke the 21 year-old approval. In effect, this means that no landfilling can occur at the site unless a fresh application under the Environmental Assessment Act is filed, subject to public consultation, and approved (or not) under the Act.”
Clark said the decision to revoke the approval under the Environmental Assessment Act was based on a number of factors, including enhancements to Ontario’s environmental policies and changes observed to the physical conditions at the site since 1998.
This landfill approval had been issued in 1998 to the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, but the landfill was never constructed by the municipality. In recent years, however, the Counties had entered into negotiations with a private waste disposal company that wanted to acquire the landfill property and proceed with the project.
Johnston further commented, “CAD is thrilled with Minister Yurek’s decision to revoke the environmental assessment approval for ED-19. The Minister came to this decision based on evidence presented in an application filed by the Canadian Environmental Law Association. CAD was confident the approval would ultimately be revoked, given the preponderance of evidence against the project. In our opinion, the Counties’ attempt to sell an approval obtained for its own use to a private company was an outrageous idea and clearly an abuse of the Environmental Assessment Act. CAD is extremely grateful to CELA’s Richard Lindgren for his leadership and wise counsel throughout this process.”