News Article

Oxford prepares to comment on EA for Walker’s Southwestern Landfill proposal


Release of Draft Environmental Assessment in early 2020 marks critical stage in Oxford’s response to the private landfill proposal for Zorra Township


Infographic of EA and Peer Review processWith Oxford County residents soon getting their first opportunity to give feedback on the draft environmental assessment for the Southwestern Landfill proposal, the County’s Joint Municipal Coordinating Committee (JMCC) is encouraging citizens to learn more and watch for updates.

Walker Environmental Group is expected to release its Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) in early 2020, a key step in Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act process that will ultimately decide if the large-scale private landfill will be approved to operate in Zorra Township.

     Graphic: The EA and JMCC Peer Review process (Feb 2020)

The draft EA will include a number of studies on the potential impacts of the 17 million-tonne private landfill proposal on surrounding communities. The role of the Joint Municipal Coordinating Committee is to oversee the work of an independent peer review team that is examining these studies to ensure they adequately and correctly assess the potential impacts of the proposed landfill. Studies undertaken as part of the EA will examine impacts on air quality, noise, water quality/hydrogeology, groundwater, land use, traffic, agriculture, the natural environment, human health, culture, and social wellbeing, among other issues.  

Under the Province’s EA process, Oxford County citizens will have three opportunities to provide comments before the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks reaches a final decision:

  1. During the pre-submission of the draft EA, which is the phase Walker is preparing to enter into now;
  2. During a seven-week comment period after the EA is submitted to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. This is expected some time in the first half of 2020;
  3. During a five-week final public review period after the Ministry’s review of the EA is completed, expected for later in 2020.

The JMCC is releasing to the public today a comprehensive briefing of the EA and peer review processes to date for the Southwestern Landfill proposal. This briefing can be downloaded at the JMCC website at www.oxfordreviewteam.ca. A high-level summary is also available as an infographic here.  

The JMCC encourages citizens to watch for updates on the timing for public comment on the Southwestern Landfill proposal at www.walkerea.com. Updates will also be posted to the JMCC website site at www.oxfordreviewteam.ca
 

Download the full briefing memo: Southwestern Landfill Proposal Chronology & EA Process
                                        Cover letter and overview
                                        Appendix 1:  Chronology – Southwest Landfill EA Process
                                        Appendix 2:  JMCC Peer Review Process – Key Activities and Timeframe 
                                        Appendix 3:  Peer Review Team Members

Download the infographic: The EA and JMCC Peer Review process 
 

Comment


Mayor Marcus Ryan, Township of Zorra / Chair, Joint Municipal Coordinating Committee

“The Province’s decision to approve or refuse a mega-landfill in our community will be made some time after the Ministry’s review of the EA is completed: we need Oxford’s citizens to make their views, concerns and opinions known before that decision is made. Over the past seven years, many members of our community have advocated for Oxford and have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the issues in front of us. We need more people to add their voice if we are to reach the best outcome for our citizens.”
 

Warden Larry Martin, Oxford County / Mayor, Township of Norwich

“Through the Future Oxford Plan, Oxford County is working to achieve zero waste and other priorities that enhance community wellbeing, and our citizens have shown over the years they support planning that considers our legacy for future generations. We will be affirming to the provincial government through this process that Ontario needs to consider the broader issue of how we manage waste in a way that is sustainable and that best serves our communities.”
 

Background

The Joint Municipal Coordinating Committee (JMCC), established in 2013, is made up of the heads of Council and CAOs of Zorra Township, the Town of Ingersoll, Township of South-West Oxford and Oxford County, the municipalities most directly affected by the proposal to build a large-scale landfill in Zorra Township. The committee was formed to oversee a sound professional peer review of the information and research contained in the environmental assessment for Walker Environmental Group’s Southwestern Landfill proposal.

The Peer Review team is made up of 19 experts covering more than 20 discipline areas that will be considered in the proposal’s environmental assessment, including air quality, noise, water quality/hydrogeology, groundwater, land use, legal, traffic, agriculture, the natural environment, human health, culture, social impact and other issues that have the potential to affect quality of life for residents and the local ecosystem.

The JMCC peer review process has been ongoing since the commencement of the Environmental Assessment for the Southwestern Landfill in 2013. To date, the JMCC has reviewed and commented on the draft Terms of Reference, the Alternative Methods Interim Report, the draft Environmental Assessment Updated Work Plans, the draft Land Use Planning Forecast, and the final Environmental Assessment technical work plans.
 

Media contact


Tommasina Conte | Oxford County
519-539-9800, ext. 3503 | 1-800-755-0394 | tconte@oxfordcounty.ca

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