Town digging into landfill proposal process

By John Tapley, Ingersoll Times

What happens next?


That's what the Town of Ingersoll wants to find out by digging into the process involved with a proposal by Walker Environmental Group (WEG) to open a landfill in Zorra.

Representatives from Ingersoll, Zorra, Southwest Oxford, WEG and lawyers for all the parties involved were among those who met recently to discuss how information will flow during the process.

“We are at the table. We are not on the sidelines,” said Mayor Ted Comiskey.

Ingersoll is also working on recruiting someone who has been through the process to act as a consultant and advise the municipality as things develop over the next three to five years.

“That is somebody we'd like to get on board as soon as possible to inform us as a council and the community as to how this (process) is all going to unfold,” said Comiskey.

He said the town wants to stay as informed as possible.

“It's a long learning process for us all because none of us have ever been through this.”

Part of the process will see a volunteer community liaison committee develop terms of reference for WEG's environmental assessment program. That will lead to studies, which will be open for peer review by the municipalities, that will delve into topics of concern. Air quality, water systems and traffic are likely examples of subjects that would be covered.

The three municipalities have to select experts to conduct peer reviews of the studies.

“You want the best (experts) to make sure that the reports presented to the Ministry are complete,” Comiskey said. “That's going to be the most difficult part, finding those experts. Our work is cut out for us.”

While council is working to stay on top of the issue, it is also looking into the best way to keep the public informed about what's going on.

There are many rumours and a lot of misinformation circulating, Comiskey said, including that the landfill would be in Ingersoll, that the town wants the landfill and that it's a done deal.

“Ingersoll doesn't want it,” he said, pointing out the proposal has come from WEG and Carmeuse Lime, which are both private companies.

One of the more recent rumours going around is that the town sold the former CIL property to WEG two years ago.

“That couldn't be further from the truth,” said Comiskey. “We have someone very interested in the property right now, but is has nothing to do with landfill and they would be an asset to Ingersoll.”

The only way to shut down the rumour mill is to get the correct information out to the people, he said.

One possibility being considered is mailing information to all residents, but no decision has been made.

“We want the rumours to stop,” Comiskey said. “The only way they can stop is if the people have the information, the proper information.”

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