County waste talks wrapped up
Simcoe County wants to construct its own organics processing facility — currently the county hauls approximately 10,000 tonnes per year of green-bin material to a facility in Hamilton — and a materials management facility, a transfer station that would expand the county's ability to manage its waste.
With a commitment not to create more landfills, the county recently held public consultations regarding seven sites it has short-listed. Two of those could be for an organics processing facility only, and five could be potentially shared sites.
The organics processing facility would process organics — green bin material and potentially materials such as leaf and yard waste, pet waste and diapers — and convert them into products such as compost or fertilizer.
The materials management facility would consolidate and transfer waste from collection vehicles for more economical shipment to other disposal and/or processing locations.
Neither of the facilities are landfills.
Final public consultation sessions for the two facilities wrapped up on Oct. 26 and the county received and responded — or are in the process of doing so — to approximately 200 comments and the public feedback period on the short list of sites closed on Nov. 6.
The owners of one of the county's largest businesses have many questions about one of the short-listed sites located just around the corner from their facility north of Barrie.
Napoleon owners Wolfgang and Ingrid Schroeter say the potential site at 540/528 Penetanguishene Rd. is the "least desirable" of all the candidate sites presented.
"We agree with the importance of building a local facility and believe the County of Simcoe is correct in finding alternative solutions to effectively manage our garbage and recyclable material in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner," they said in a letter to Rob McCullough, the county's director of solid waste management.
"(But) the presence of environmentally sensitive lands nearby is one of the major issues that the (site selection) committee should consider," the letter states. "This proposed candidate site is sloping towards the flood plain, Willow Creek, the aquifer on our property and could seriously impact our well that supplies water for our facility."
The Schroeters say they are also concerned with additional traffic from the facility at the already busy intersection of Penetanguishene Road and highways 11 and 400.
"The added traffic would be a serious burden on the host community including ourselves, our neighbors, our suppliers and those local residents using this intersection to get in and out of Barrie," the couple states in the letter to McCullough.
The Penetanguishene Road site is also the only property not already owned by the county, the Schroeters add.
"The high cost of this private property compared to existing county land at minimal cost is certainly not in keeping with one of the objectives of optimizing the cost of this facility to the taxpayers of the area," they state.
McCullough there has been a rigorous screening process of all available sites to arrive at the seven short-listed sites.
"These sites all have neighbours," he said. "For those who have shared feedback, their input is important and will be factored into the next phase of site evaluation — including all residents and businesses.
"The next phase of evaluation will consider all factors including environmental criteria, capital cost of development (including property costs), potential impacts on neighbouring properties, traffic impacts, and more."
County staff have met with a number of residents and stakeholder groups to address questions and concerns, according to Warden Gerry Marshall who said the process is now entering the next phase.
"Our consultants will now review and consider feedback received as they continue to move towards identifying a preferred site(s) for county council's consideration in early 2016," he said. "As expected with any waste management project, the majority of the feedback has come from neighbouring residents, property owners and businesses in close proximity to the seven short-listed sites.
"These individuals understandably have legitimate questions and we have tried our best to engage and answer their questions as best possible."
Marshall said siting criteria included detailed analysis of environmental impacts and consultants evaluated more than 500 possible sites before narrowing them down to the seven short-listed locations.
"The current evaluation phase will continue to weigh criteria and consider public feedback on a range of issues including traffic," he said. "Technology will be considered as the process continues, which, along with building design, will address odour concerns. We are also in the process of developing a detailed compensation plan which will be finalized after a preferred site is identified."
Summary of short-listed sites
Potential sites for organics processing facility only
- - 2249 Flos Rd. 7 East, Springwater Twp. (county-owned land)
- - 1637 Fairgrounds Rd. North, Clearview Twp. (county-owned land)
Potential shared sites for materials management facility and organics processing facility
- - 1473/1273 Old Second South, Springwater Twp. (county-owned land)
- - 2976 Horseshoe Valley Rd. W., Springwater Twp. (county-owned land)
- - Line 5 North, Oro-Medonte Twp. (county-owned land)
- - 1453 Flos Rd. 3 E., Springwater Twp. (county-owned land)
- - 540/528 Penetanguishene Rd., Springwater Twp. (Privately-owned land)