Oxford County residents urged to speak out on landfill
OXFORD COUNTY, ONT. -- After nearly a decade of controversy and several missed deadlines, Walker Environmental is expected to release the environmental assessment (EA) for its proposed landfill in Zorra Township in the coming weeks.
Residents of Oxford County are being urged to comment during the public input process that will follow.
The final say will be made by the province, but Zorra Township Mayor Marcus Ryan says it is important residents take part.
“What we want the general public to do is exactly what they’ve done all along and that is to stay as engaged as possible, as informed as possible, and be as vocal as possible about what their concerns are. There’s been a lot of anxiety in the community about what’s going to happen, when are we going to find things out...and we need the community to follow along.”
If the landfill goes ahead, the impact will be felt for decades, and that’s what the group Oxford People Against Landfill (OPAL) fears most.
Spokesman Leo Walsh tells CTV News he’s most concerned about leakage from the landfill membrane into the local drinking water supply.
“My well water runs underneath the aquifer where the dump will be. And we have shown that all dump liners leak over time. The water around here for Ingersoll, Beachville, Centreville - it's no good. You can't drink it. And then we're going to be into a Flint, Michigan situation, I don't know?”
Ryan says Zorra has not yet taken any position on the landfill, but he’s expecting crucial concerns to be addressed in the EA.
“The main things are going to be things like air quality and water quality - they're going to be addressed in some form in the EA. There's going to be community impact, traffic, like garbage going around, those kinds of things."
He says the municipal team knows what the questions are as well as Walker.
"We're expecting them to be answered in the assessment. The question is going to be are they answered sufficiently.”
Before he became premier, Doug Ford made a pledge to the town of Ingersoll that municipalities would have a say as to whether they would be a willing host for landfills.
Ryan says if it comes to it, it would be tough to walk that back.
“How strong is any politician's promise on these issues? I would hope that any politician that makes a promise like that would be prepared to stand by it.”