Barrett holds Environment Minister to account on Edwards landfill

For Immediate Release:
April 7, 201

Queens Park – After a year of government missteps on waste diversion and management in Ontario, Opposition Environment Critic Toby Barrett is trying to ensure local landfill concerns do not go ignored.

During Question Period, Barrett asked Environment Minister John Wilkinson about oversight and government action at Edwards landfill near Cayuga in the wake of area concerns.

“After years of questions, petitions and local process, landfill operators have been handed provincial orders requiring 37 items to be complied with by May 20.” Barrett reported. “Haldimand Against Land Transfers, also known as HALT, has written you requesting the site be closed until these 37 items are dealt with – Will you be closing the site, minister?”

Clearly unaware of the answer, the Minister instead chose to curious approach of listing diverted waste tonnage despite the fact that government diversion programs are falling far short of targets – electronics recycling is only at 2 per cent.

In his supplementary question, Barrett refreshed the Minister’ s memory:
“These are significant issues—issues of asbestos, leachate levels, spill contingencies,” said Barrett. “While people see the issuing of orders as a step forward, they’re naturally sceptical given the history and given the ineptitude of your government when it comes to waste diversion and waste management.

“…could you please provide people in my riding, at minimum, an update as to the work at Edwards to meet these compliance orders? What will your ministry do if those orders are not fulfilled by the May 20 deadline?”
Having had the time to get a briefing note handed to him in the House, the Minister went on to provide a partial update.

“I can, though, assure the member and his constituents that there have been no environmental impacts from the leachate breach,” Wilkinson confirmed. “We ordered the landfill to submit an odour management plan and a proper application of cover to stop the dust. It also requires that the old hazardous waste site is to be cleaned up and we are routinely inspecting Edwards landfill.

“They also conduct periodic sampling and monitoring, ensuring surface water controls remain effective and the site is secure.”
Barrett later noted he would be asking for a thorough update following the May 20th deadline.

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For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at
(519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629