United Counties reported ready to clear sensitive wildlife habitat

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On November 10, 2016, Counties Council, in a private letter, authorized Tomlinson, the Ottawa company seeking to turn the ED-19 site into a province-wide mega dump, to clear natural habitat on the site. After being embarrassed when this became public, the Counties rescinded that permission on March 28, 2017.

On May 29, Kyle Johnston, spokesperson for Citizens Against the Dump [CAD], sent a letter to Counties Council asking for assurances on several items, including: “Your commitment to advise CAD, through me, in advance of any further granting to Tomlinson of permission to access the site for the purposes of natural habitat and wildlife clearing”. To date, CAD has received no response to that letter, or to a subsequent letter sent by CAD Counsel, Rick Lindgren, on similar matters.

On June 9, CAD learned that Counties Council has quietly hired a trapper – as of Monday, June 5, – to again attempt to clear the site of valuable and sensitive natural habitat. The site is currently providing habitat for a variety of species, including a large and thriving heron rookery. The heron nests are part of a larger wetland complex that now occupies a large portion of the ED-19 site. The site now contains tens of thousands of litres of water which form the habitat for endangered species, including the Blanding’s turtle which has been observed on the same wetland complex.

Leeds and Grenville Council recently voted, at its meeting of May 25, 2017, to hire a consulting firm to “update” environmental conditions in the vicinity of the ED-19 site, in response to a request from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change [MOECC]. This appears to be an obvious attempt by the Counties to alter those conditions before the site is assessed. CAD and its counsel, the Canadian Environmental Law Association, intend to raise this issue immediately with relevant regulatory authorities, including the MOECC. CAD recently filed an application with Environment Minister, Glenn Murray, to reconsider the 20 year-old unused approval for the Spencerville dump under the Environmental Assessment Act. The sensitive environmental conditions at the site form part of the basis for the request to Minister Murray.

Kyle Johnston, Spokesperson, Citizens Against the ED-19 Dump, responded to the move by the United Counties: “This is an outrageous attempt by Leeds and Grenville to both subvert the request of the MOECC for a report on current conditions at this site, and head off a successful application for reconsideration of the site approval by Minister Murray. It makes a mockery of both the MOECC request to the Counties and of Minister’s Murray’s review, and is in our view a complete abuse of the public trust. Whoever authorized this activity should be ashamed.”

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