Province green lights full Environmental Assessment for York1 Dresden dump plans

Protesters outside The Wheelhouse in Dresden press their signs up against windows as the meeting with York1 on its proposal to revive a dump north of the town went Feb. 10.

York1 Environmental Solutions will have to go through a full Environmental Assessment to gain approval for the revival of the dormant Dresden Dump.

The news of the in depth investigation was posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario late Friday.

York1 wants to build a new landfill on the Irish School Road site and create a construction and soil waste recycling centre. It would bring up to 6,000 tonnes of construction waste and soil in up to 700 trucks a day to the site.

The move has faced fierce opposition from Dresden residents. The former landfill, which was most recently used as a waste wood recycling is just 800 meters from the town. It’s also surrounded by homes.

The proposal first came to light when York1 filed for approval under the Environmental Compliance Approvals process. The land already had ECA designation and the process to expand an existing site under the compliance approval process takes far less time than a full Environmental Assessment new landfills require.

Dresden residents, Chatham-Kent and Lambton politicians and environmental groups all argued the project needed more scrutiny considering during the 1970s, when the approval was first given, there were few environmental rules for landfills.

March 15 , the Environment Minister Andrea Khanjin said the province would ask for a full Environmental Assessment of the project. Friday, in the ERO posting, the ministry said “We recognize the potential impact that a project of this size could have on the local residents and the surrounding environment. That’s why, after consulting with the public, we are requiring a comprehensive environmental assessment for the proposed project before it can be implemented.

“The environmental assessment process requires the company to identify potential impacts from the proposed project, possible mitigation measures to address any impacts and opportunities for the local community to submit comments.”

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Steve Pinsonneault, who was vocally opposed to the site as a municipal councillor, is pleased the full Environmental Assessment will move forward. “I have been in talks with the minister over the last three weeks,” Pinsonneault told The Independent via text message. “She was in the riding with me this week and agreed with me that this EA does need to move forward.

“I’m really happy to see all the proper procedures are being followed regarding this expansion. This should bring some peace of mind to the residents.”

As the news of the full Environmental Assessment was released, the community group struck to fight the landfill expansion – Dresden CARED – announced it has hired the Canadian Environmental Law Association to represent the group through the multi-year Environmental Assessment Process.

Officials from the Ontario Waste Management Association have said it can take up to 10 years for approval of waste management projects under the Environmental Assessment process.