Forested wetland approved for destruction
The proposed site of the Taggart Miller CRRRC landfill and waste disposal facility has been given approval by Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change Glenn Murray. The 450-acre site along Boundary Rd. between Hwy. 417 and Devine Rd. is a forested wetland of which a small detail is shown here. Opponents to the proposed dump are planning their next steps. Vetter photo
TORONTO — Glenn Murray, Minister responsible for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, has dealt a bitter, but not totally unexpected blow, to the communities of Russell and east rural Ottawa which have contested the proposed Taggart Miller mega-dump for six and a half years.
The Capital Region Resource Recovery Centre proposed to be situated along Boundary Road between Devine Rd. and Hwy. 417, has been approved by Murray with what Harry Baker, President of the Dump the Dump Now campaign, described as “the minimum of conditions.”
The message was received by interested parties on Mon., June 5.
“The Minister has decided against sending this to the Environmental Review Tribunal for a public hearing under the Environmental Assessment Act,” said Canadian Environmental Law Association lawyer Richard Lindgren, who acts for the opponents. “The next step for the proponent is to apply for other statutory approvals needed for the undertaking, such as an Environmental Compliance Approval under the Environmental Protection Act. The next step for concerned residents remains under consideration at this time.”
However, there is no doubt that there will be next steps. Both the Citizens’ Environmental Stewardship Association — East of Ottawa (CESA-EO) which evolved from the Russell-based Dump the Dump Now campaign, and the CRRCPE, which evolved from the Carlsbad Springs-based Dump This Dump 2 campaign, have long known that approval was possible, and have been preparing for legal challenges and other campaigns in response.
However, opponents are still disgusted by the turn of events. “Happy 150, Canada’s Capital!! Smell ya later, Taggart construction,” said Laurie McCannell, one of the early leaders in the opposition which started in November of 2010. “In spite of relentless local opposition, warnings from experts and even opposition from the City of Ottawa, Taggart Miller’s 450-acre industrial dump has just been approved for the East end of Ottawa, at the Boundary Rd. exit off the 417. Recent action by Ottawa’s existing dumps proves Ottawa can expect more garbage to be trucked here from all over Ontario, and even Quebec.”
“To say we are devastated with the Minister’s decision would be an understatement,” said CESA-EO President Harry Baker, a retired engineer and geologist. “We did everything we could to show how the two proposed sites were unsuitable for a 450-acre private landfill for industrial, commercial and institutional waste, with very little recycling capability. Our technical experts had serious disagreements with the proponents consultants, but the MOECC were not convinced that our issues were significant enough to even grant us a hearing with the Environmental Review Tribunal.”
CESA-EO was formed soon after Nov. 9, 2010, when the proposed Taggart Miller dump was announced for the North Russell Quarry lake site. The Dump the Dump Now campaign was the biggest community reaction that the municipality of Russell Township has seen and included over 5,000 signatures on petitions. The proponents shifted their attention to the Boundary Road site in June 2012 and CESA-EO joined forces with the CRCCPE to resist a dump at that location.
The Dump the Dump Now annual general meeting is scheduled for next Wed., June 14, at the Russell House Pub, in Russell, beginning at 7 p.m. Next steps will be discussed and the public is encouraged to come out and find out what this development means and what they can do now. The Dump this Dump 2 AGM is also coming up and a date and time will be announced shortly.
Conditions imposed by the ministry are generally vague, usually referring back to the environmental assessment. A compliance monitoring program and compliance reporting will require an annual report, and a community liaison committee (which is standard practice) is to be set up. The proponent is to include an assessment of the largest 10 storm events in the past five years only, and shall provide “a discussion of potential contingency plans…” for severe weather events.
The proponent shall “study the feasibility of utilizing the landfill gas…for beneficial uses” but is not ordered to use it to generate power and can argue instead to flare (burn) the gas off.
The proponent is to consult with the Ministry of Transportation on adding a left turn on Boundary Rd., immediately south of the Hwy. 417 overpass. That overpass was rebuilt recently and caused traffic headaches for travellers accessing and exiting the provincial highway for two construction seasons.
The approval says the proponent is not to accept waste in landfill until the waste diversion facilities are constructed and operational. The ministry also says the proponent shall include a proposed leachate treatment plan. One of the hundreds of criticisms of the original environmental assessment is that a leachate treatment plan was not included. Opponents expressed outrage that any approval has been granted before a clear plan, including all the engineering designs, has been prepared, as leachate is the most dangerous component over the long-term life of a landfill.
Odour abatement and dust control plans are to be provided, but again the ministry has not given any specifics or parameters. Regarding the hot issue of potential seismic activity at the site, the ministry asks for an annual inspection of the site and an evaluation by “a person(s) qualified” to ensure the landfill components are in good working order. There is no discussion of what happens if those components are not in good working order.
There is nothing in the approval document which mentions the lack of need for such a facility.
Disclosure: The author lives between the two proposed dump sites and is officially registered as opposed to the project.