Protest planned as York1 meets with neighbours about revival of Dresden landfill

HEATHER WRIGHT PHOTO Dave Willson and Sherri Northcott stand on their front lawn with the landfill behind them. York1 is planning to bring up to 6,000 tonnes of waste to the site, which neighbours say has not been used as a landfill in decades.

When officials from York1 meet with neighbours Saturday about a proposal to revive a landfill north of Dresden, they’re going to have company.

Jan. 31, York1 Environmental Waste Solutions Ltd filed a proposal with the Ministry of the Environment to use and expand the old landfill on Irish School Road.

According to the proposal filed on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, about 20 acres of the 85-acre property was approved in the past as a landfill. York1, which has owned the property since 2021, wants to expand that bringing up to 6,000 tonnes of waste a day from construction and demolition sites and soils to be either recycled or landfilled at the site. The operation, the proposal says, would run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A letter to the homeowners states the company plans to upgrade the landfill to current environmental standards including a compacted clay liner, a geomembrane line and a leachate collection and extraction system which would include a leachate pond. It would install monitoring wells to detect potential impacts from the landfill and “the maximum elevation of the landfill is …80 feet above the existing grade.”

That could mean for some neighbours, whose backyard abuts the landfill, the 80 foot berms would be 50 to 100 feet from their home and block much of the sun.

Neighbours say the site – which most recently was used to recycle wood waste into wood chips – hasn’t been used as a landfill in decades.

York1 plans a meeting with “Immediate Local Neighbours within 500 meters” of the site Saturday at 1 pm at The Wheelhouse on Dresden’s main street. Only 100 people will be admitted, according to a notice the company posted on Facebook.

A second event is planned for March 1 at the Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre starting a 6 pm. Three hundred people will be admitted to that meeting.

Thursday night, Thomas Peacock organized a community meeting. That spawned the idea of a “Take a Stand Dresden” rally – complete with tractors – behind the Wheelhouse, to “say no to York1’s Regenerative Recycling Facility…Dresden needs to come together before we all suffer the consequences.”

The Herald reached out to York1, however officials didn’t want to comment on the proposal until after Saturday’s meeting.

Chatham-Kent administration officials have also yet to answer questions about the proposal, however in an online statement, the municipality said; “the Municipality just received notice from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks that an application has been submitted for an amendment to an existing provincial environmental approval for this facility, which is currently owned and operated by York1 Environmental Waste Solutions Ltd.

“The property does hold existing provincial approvals for some waste processing and landfilling activities at the site.

“The Municipality is taking this matter very seriously. Given that the notice was just received, administration is currently gathering additional information and will be seeking advice from technical experts regarding the application.”

Information from York1

First Event (limited capacity, immediate local neighbours prioritized):
– Saturday, February 10th at 1:00pm
– Location: The Wheelhouse, 547 North Street (new venue)
– *Immediate Local Neighbours (within 500m) given priority. Seating will be limited to 100 people. If space remains, we will be able to admit other community residents. Admission will be on a first come, first served basis.

Second Event (300-person capacity community event):
– Friday, March 1st at 6:00pm
– Location: Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre, 1212 North Street
– For Dresden Community Members: Seating will be limited to 300 people and admission will be on a first come, first served basis.