Today Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford, will introduce a private members bill that would give municipalities the right to approve the location of new landfill sites in their communities. Currently, waste companies only need approval from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
“Municipalities can choose where a new Tim Hortons is located, but they don’t have the same authority when it comes to landfill projects,” said Hardeman. “This bill respects Ontario communities, and will give towns and cities the ability to decide their own future.”
According to a recent poll by Public Square, nearly 8 out of 10 Ontarians feel municipalities should have a say in whether they host landfills, contrary to the current legislation.
“Ontarians are tired of the provincial government unilaterally imposing everything from windfarms to landfill sites onto local communities,” said Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey who leads the Demand the Right Coalition. “This bill would give us the right to say yes or no to these kinds of projects.”
Nearly 30 municipalities passed motions demanding that the provincial government pass legislation that gives towns and cities the right to approve locations for new landfill sites. A further 150 municipal leaders from across Ontario signed petitions demanding the right and are in the process of passing similar motions in their own councils.
According to Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner’s Office, the province generates 6.7 million tonnes of industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) waste a year – of which only 15% is recycled or reused. As Ontario landfills fill up, and the U.S. border tightens, it is forecast that several new mega dumps will be needed. This bill would ensure they are in willing host communities.
An 18 million tonne ICI waste landfill site is being proposed in the community of Zorra Township in southwest Ontario, one of several mega dumps that will be needed to meet Ontario’s growing garbage problem.
Marcus Ryan, a Zorra Township councillor said, “Any community outside the GTHA is a potential site for future mega dumps like Zorra is facing; and currently there’s nothing we can do about it. We have to change that.”