The Environmental Resource Recovery Centre is currently under development at 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Springwater. This facility will house the
Organics Processing Facility (OPF),
Materials Management Facility (MMF), and areas for truck servicing, public education, and space to potentially sort blue box recycling in the future.
Development of the County's Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) continues. Since 2012, the County of Simcoe has been working on the ERRC to ensure that we have the necessary waste management infrastructure in place for our next curbside collection contract in 2022 and support the Province's long-term waste goals. In November 2016, the County initiated a County Official Plan Amendment 2 (COPA2) and submitted applications to the Township of Springwater for Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments for 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Springwater. The required information was also provided to the appropriate Provincial ministries, agencies, and Aboriginal communities for their respective review and comment. The Province approved COPA2 for the proposed ERRC on November 30, 2018. On January 2, 2019, notification was received from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) regarding their approval of COPA 2. Three (3) appeals were submitted in January 2019 and are now being addressed through the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT). The appeals to the ERRC generally address the following:
- Site Selection
- Natural heritage/environmental
- Noise and odour
The Province's approval of COPA 2 was based on extensive studies and documentation selecting this as the best site for this facility. The Province further provided its support for the ERRC project by providing transition provisions within the Growth Plan to allow for the approval of the project. The appellants' concerns with regard to the siting of the ERRC and natural heritage have been addressed through the technical studies. The remaining concerns with regard to traffic and noise can only be dealt with through the more detailed Township of Springwater Site Plan approval process and the Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) process. The ECA process does allow for extensive public participation.
The County is currently awaiting its fourth LPAT case management conference and a hearing date has not been established. The current path for obtaining approvals is likely to take another two (2) years or more and has already cost the taxpayer more than $1.5 million. The County is also at risk of losing over $2 million in provincial funding towards the materials management component of the project if delays continue. Given that the County requires a decision on this project to plan for our future, help cut red tape and to ensure that taxpayers' dollars are used on a project that will move forward, County Council approved a staff recommendation at its meeting on April 14, 2020 to request a Minister's Zoning Order (MZO). The MZO would establish land use permissions and set specific requirements for new development, such as minimum frontage, access and servicing requirements. New development must conform to the provisions of the MZO and the permissions of the MZO would override those of the applicable in-effect official plan(s) and zoning by-laws (in this case, the County of Simcoe Official Plan, Township of Springwater Official Plan and the Township's Zoning By-law 5000).
The MZO is an option available for all projects requiring Planning Act approvals, but typically designated for critical infrastructure. While we believe the (LPAT) process is important, the County requires a decision on this project to enable further planning around waste collection, processing and future contracts for processing, transferring and collections. Regarding the commonality of MZO's the province recently granted an MZO to economic development lands in Oro-Medonte and a seniors complex in Innisfil. County Council recently supported a privately initiated application for an MZO to support the development of a seniors facility in Elmvale. An MZO is a very specialized planning instrument given to cover projects important to the public, and ones that meet very important and urgent municipal and provincial goals. The County is confident that the ERRC meets these criteria.
The report and associated schedules are provided below.
About the ERRC
The ERRC is an important project to provide certainty on organics processing costs and capacity for the next 30 years and protect taxpayers from cost escalation. 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. 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 ERRC will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from currently hauling organic materials outside the County and save costs long term. Using just 5% of the 207-acre Freele Tract, with 95% of the forest remaining untouched, the County has already completed a compensation plan and replanted forest in Springwater at a 3:1 ratio (40 acres) as compensation for the future cleared area. This has added new forest area to the County's 33,000 acre forest network (which is the largest municipally-owned forest in Ontario). The facility footprint avoids environmental impacts to ground water and surface water features and is not located on prime agricultural land.
- Details on the land use planning approval process can
be found on the County’s Planning webpage.
Inquiries regarding this project can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively
Service Simcoe Contact Centre at (705) 735-6901.