At the Leeds and Grenville Counties Council Meeting of the Whole last week, CAO Andy Brown presented letters between he and MOECC staff, in which he received a re-assertion from MOECC staff that the Environmental Assessment Act (EA) approval and MOECC Certificate of Approval (C of A) related to ED-19 are still valid.
CAO Brown received the MOECC staff letter on March 30, 2017 and waited until the meeting to inform the public about it. Despite attempting to communicate with County Council in good faith, CAD was only advised of the letter at the meeting, with no prior notification from the Counties.
Appearing before County Council on March 23, 2017 as representative of CAD, I urged Council to ask the Minister (not MOECC staff) for his views of the validity of the EA. EA Act approvals are political approvals issued by Cabinet (not MOECC staff). And we knew that Mr. Brown, in private meetings with MOECC staff, had already asked the same questions and received the same answers. Despite our explicit request (which included the question the Counties should be asking Minister of the Environment, Glenn Murray), Counties Council went ahead and asked the wrong person, the wrong questions – ones they already knew the answers to.
Since County Council refused to ask the right person, the right question, MPP Clark had to do so, on behalf of all the residents and businesses in Leeds and Grenville who are aghast at the notion that the Counties think it is a good idea to sell this unopened site to a non-resident company to import waste from all over the Province.
MPP Clark recently tabled two Order Paper questions in the Ontario Legislature asking Minister Murray for his legal staff’s view on whether the EA approval remained valid and importantly, under what conditions he would revisit and potentially revoke the 20 year old EA approval for the Eastern Ontario dump, located in Spencerville. MPP Clarke should receive an answer from the Minister in short order. In addition, working with our lawyers, the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), we have also filed – at the end of last week – a request with Minister Murray (05/05/2017) to review/revoke the EA approval for the dump, under section 11.4 of Environmental Assessment Act.
During the ensuing discussions (link to video below), Mayors Baptista, Malanka and Holman called for the formation of a Task Force which would weigh the need for County garbage only (the original intent of the site) against a proposed sale to Tomlinson Waste, a private sector company based in Ottawa. Mayor Haley, on the other hand, incomprehensibly urged his fellow Councillors to “go ahead with negotiations” to a private entity, before a Task Force could be formed or consultations undertaken. Several Mayors mentioned Tomlinson by name, despite County Council continuing to argue that no negotiations with that company are underway.