We applaud the decision by the Ontario Land Tribunal which is an important step forward in the process to develop the County's Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC).
Siting a waste facility will always be a challenging process; however, this decision validates the significant planning, engineering, environmental and scientific studies/evaluation that went into the selection of this rural site located on Horseshoe Valley Road in a small section of the County's Freele Forest Tract.
As this project started in 2016, the urgent need to create local organics processing and materials management capacity has increased. County landfills are reaching capacity, our population is increasing, as a society we're producing more waste, the costs of outsourcing and contracting waste services is rising and investment in diversion and organics programs are becoming a necessity.
This is an important decision; however as the Tribunal pointed out, further approvals and processes are required from multiple levels of government before the project can proceed. We look forward to working with these, and with interested members of the public, going forward.
About the project:
- Located in a rural area with distance from community developments: The buildings and infrastructure will take up just 5 per cent of the 207-acre Freele Tract County-owned property, with 95 per cent of the forest and trees remaining untouched to provide additional buffers. The County is committed to seeing that the trees that have been removed will be compensated for. The facility footprint avoids environmental impacts to ground water and surface water features and is not located on prime agricultural land. The site is also centrally located in the county with strong access to local and regional road networks.
- Supporting the local economy: The development of the ERRC will create more than 100 direct and indirect local jobs in construction, the trades and solid waste management, and will save taxpayers approximately $1.6 million per year in waste transfer and haulage costs. End products such as fertilizers will be sold to the local agricultural sector.
- Helping the environment: The Province has set aggressive targets of 70 per cent food waste reduction by 2023. The ERRC will support these goals while also assisting the County with its own diversion targets, with a design capacity of 30,000 tonnes per year. Currently, the County hauls organic green bin materials to a processing facility in Elmira each day. The County is currently travelling 3600km/week trucking organics for processing. The Tribunal decision recognized that the ERRC will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from currently hauling organic materials outside the County and save costs long term.
More details about this project are located at simcoe.ca/errc
– County of Simcoe Warden George Cornell