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The Stomp the Dump rally in Ingersoll saw about 170 people attend to discus the proposed Walker Environmental Group landfill

By Greg Colgan, Sentinel-Review

INGERSOLL - 

If there was any doubt where Oxford County stood on the proposed landfill, there was none by the end of their Sunday afternoon rally.

Roughly 170 people attended the Stomp the Dump rally at St. James Anglican Church in Ingersoll against the proposed landfill.

The nearly two-hour long meeting saw local, provincial and federal politicians as well as speakers from Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) and audience members voice their opinions on the possibility of a landfill being added to Oxford County.

“Imagine someone wanting to put garbage in their backyard. And if they don’t want it there, they better damn well understand we don’t want it,” Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey said.

The rally saw eight speakers talk to the crowd with the audience fully supporting stopping the dump, but also aiming to have municipalities have ultimate say over landfill decisions opposed to Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

Following the end, the audience was asked to sign a one-page petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Two five-page documents directed to Minister of Environment and Climate Change head Chris Ballard were also available to sign.

Among the speakers were NDP London-Fanshawe MP Irene Mathyssen, Oxford County MPP Ernie Hardeman, OPAL board of director Stephen McSwiggan and OPAL president Bryan Smith. Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey, South West Oxford Mayor David Mayberry had remarks read by Master of Ceremonies Brian Donlevy and Zorra Township Mayor Margaret Lupton also spoke. A group called Stomp the Dump drummers also led three chants with the audience.

Throughout the rally, speakers spoke of the passion of locals in helping to delay the landfill with McSwiggan saying the proposal in 2012 showed it being opened in 2017, but are now pushed back to 2022 at the earliest due to locals passionate opposition.

Both Mathyssen and Hardeman emphasized the importance of concerned citizens reaching out to their elected officials to bring their concerns to both Toronto’s Queen’s Park and the House of Commons in Ottawa.

“I’ve had the opportunity a number of times to present petitions, I think we’re in the hundreds of times I’ve stood in the legislature sometimes twice in the same time, on how we shouldn’t be foolish enough as a province to bury garbage on fractured bedrock,” Hardeman said.

“When I get these petitions, I don’t give them all to the clerk’s office. I give them one or two copies and put the rest in my desk, so I always have a supply to present a petition to get the word out,” Hardeman adding to applause.

Ingersoll Mayor Comiskey, who has travelled multiple times to bring locals concerns about the landfill, asked the audience to large applause why risk having a possible environmental issue with the addition of a landfill.

Multiple speakers like Zorra Township Mayor Margaret Lupton, South West Oxford Mayor David Mayberry, who had his remarks read by Master of Ceremonies Brian Donlevy, and Hardeman on the need for local municipalities to have the authority on whether a community

Throughout the County, but especially in Ingersoll, it’s hard to miss the mass of opposition to the proposed landfill by Walker’s Environmental Group. From several rallies, open houses and front lawns supporting “Stop the Dump” signs, locals have made their feelings well known.

As Master of Ceremonies Brian Donlevy randomly asked people why they oppose the landfill, with questions of air and water quality, control of municipalities to make the ultimate decision, the impact on future generations were shouted out.

“In no uncertain teams, we say no,” OPAL president Bryan Smith said as the final speaker to cheers on the largely anti-landfill opinion throughout Oxford.

“We ain’t going away and we get the future we desire and that means no to the dump,” he added.

gcolgan@postmedia.com

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