News

Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman is introducing a private members bill to stop landfills in municipalities that are “unwilling hosts”

By Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

MPP Ernie Hardeman, with Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey and Zorra Mayor Margaret Lupton, announced Friday he will introduce a bill to prevent landfills from being forced on unwilling muncipalities. (HEATHER RIVERS/SENTINEL-REVIEW)

MPP Ernie Hardeman, with Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey and Zorra Mayor Margaret Lupton, announced Friday he will introduce a bill to prevent landfills from being forced on unwilling muncipalities. (HEATHER RIVERS/SENTINEL-REVIEW)

Unwilling communities should not have to put up with landfills being imposed on them, says Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman.

Worried about one of the largest dumps in Canada ending up in his constituency, one of the first things Hardeman wants to do when the provincial legislature returns Tuesday is introduce a private members bill to stop landfills in communities that are unwilling to host them.

“Why should we be forced as a community to take someone else's garbage?” asked Hardeman. “It makes no sense that municipalities get a say in where the local Tim Hortons is located, but aren’t allowed to make a decision on an issue as important to their constituents as landfill. This bill would give them that authority.”

Hardeman joined Zorra Mayor Margaret Lupton and Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey at press conference Friday morning in council chambers at the Ingersoll Town Hall.

The massive landfill proposed for a Carmeuse site in Beachville has prompted a wave of opposition across the county.

Walker Environmental is still only about halfway through their environmental assessment, which is expected to be completed by 2021 or 2022.

Last fall Comiskey requested a legislative change to prevent landfills from being forced on municipalities during committee hearings on Bill 139, the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act. While the amendment was voted down, the private members bill will be modelled on that amendment.

Over the last few months about 20 municipalities have been lobbying for a law that would give them the right to turn down applications for landfills.

“The current environmental assessment process allows private landfill operators to ignore the concerns of local residents and municipal councils. That must be changed, immediately,” Comiskey said.

Lupton said decision about landfills should only be made by those most affected.

“It is totally unacceptable that a decision regarding the establishment of a landfill within our community is to be made by anyone other than the people most affected,” she said. “We’re hoping common sense will prevail at the provincial level.”

Hardeman said he hopes to get a second reading of the bill prior to the spring provincial election.

HRivers@postmedia.com