Dear County of Simcoe Councillor,
We in the United States often look to our northern neighbour for glimmers of inspiration on matters of social and environmental justice.
In your province of Ontario, we have noted with interest your green leadership to close down coal-fired power plants by 2014, bring forward the Greenbelt to combat urban sprawl, pass the Clean Water Act of 2006 and the Places to Grow Act of 2006 to promote local food production, as well as the ambitious discussion you have initiated to launch Ontario toward a zero-waste society.
That is why I was surprised on my recent visit to the beautiful Georgian Bay area to see such grassroots uproar against the impending garbage dump at Site 41 in North Simcoe that would put putrid waste on top of the pristine Alliston aquifer, reputed as one of the cleanest sources of groundwater in the world.
I note that certain authorities have advised the dump can go forward with minimal negative environmental effects. But that is not how many in the community who I met with feel, at all.
When Tiny Township's 2004 Citizen of the Year, senior citizens, and a bright young articulate First Nation lady are all hauled off to jail for the 'crime' of peacefully standing up for the ecological integrity of their land, eyebrows are legitimately raised.
When 2,500 people gather in Perkinsfield to call for a moratorium on Dump Site 41, there is clearly a vivid perception of a lack of due process.
Given the extraordinary pitch of civic passions the proposed dump has aroused across the local and national spectrum from the Beausoleil First Nation and the Council of Canadians to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Canadian Association of Retired Persons, along with the manifold readily available alternatives, what is the rush to allow this to be rammed through before the community's intense reservations and zero-waste aspirations can be dutifully addressed?
The proposed Dump Site 41 is thick in history and intrigue going back over 20 years, but as Ontario's Environment Commissioner, Gord Miller, has stated, if the decision were to be taken today, Site 41 would never have been chosen for a dumpsite.
Seldom does a citizenry become so aroused and united over the usually hum-drum aspects of waste management. What an opportunity you have to tap the reservoirs of aroused civic energy in Simcoe Community to create a model as the leading zero-waste community in North America.
Almost 20 years ago such a model was proposed by the WHY W.Y.E. Citizen's Group. If you support a moratorium on Site 41 on August 25, and combine the directions of this earlier citizen's proposal with the ambitious zero-waste plan presently being carved out by the Ministry of the Environment, Tiny Township would be attracting local, national, and international attention of a totally different nature.
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