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March 2016 - OPF & MMF Update

We've reached an important milestone in the OPF and MMF projects. The siting process is now complete and the consultant's recommendation on the preferred site was released in our Committee of the Whole Agenda for our upcoming meeting on March 8th. The report is listed as Item #CCW 16-054 in our Public Agenda.

The staff report includes the following recommendation: THAT development of the Organics Processing Facility (OPF) and Materials Management Facility (MMF) proceed with consideration that both facilities be located on a single site, located at 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Springwater (C136).

I'm not surprised that a co-located facility is being recommended as our best option. Both facilities on one site clearly offers capital and operational savings, among other benefits.

We are aware of the sensitivities when siting any waste management facility – and understand nearby neighbours might have further questions. Staff have already sent letters to neighbours/businesses surrounding this site, as well as the other six short-listed sites, to notify them of the report's findings. We have also reached out to Springwater Township and will have ongoing consultation with this important partner. Following further direction from Council, staff are also preparing to meet nearby neighbours and the general public to share more information and answer questions about the Horseshoe Valley Road site.

We are going down this path for the right reasons. These facilities are not landfills and instead offer a solution to securely manage our own waste, control transfer and processing costs, and help to reduce our waste disposal by creating our own diversion capacity. The benefits that stand out most to me are that we save tax payers' money with the MMF, while the OPF aligns with our overall waste strategy to help reduce the need for disposal by building our own local processing capacity. It's a full circle approach – from farm – to table – to earth – as the facility would allow us to produce valuable compost and fertilizer products to support our agriculture sector.

It has been a long road and a comprehensive process to get to this point – here's a quick glance at the steps taken by the project team to identify this preferred site:

  • Thorough Environmental Assessment methodology (although not required for these projects) applied by industry leading consultants
  • Process and criteria approved by this County Council
  • Three screening phases to evaluate candidate sites
  • 502 potential sites evaluated
  • Extensive public, Aboriginal and stakeholder consultation
  • Review of more than 200 public comments
  • Short-list site visits and mapping
  • Determining the net effects for each facility (OPF, MMF, and co-located) on each site and comparing them against each other
  • Recommendation that 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Springwater is the most preferred site for all three options – MMF, OPF and co-located facility

Given this comprehensive process, I am confident that our consultants have landed on the best possible site for this facility.

Committee of the Whole will receive the siting report during our meeting on March 8th (Committee of the Whole starts at approximately 9:30 a.m. in County Council Chambers). A decision will not be made until County Council provides further direction during our meeting on March 22nd.

Certainly exciting times as we push forward to creating a greener future for all our residents. For full details, visit our project web pages.

Gerry Marshall
Simcoe County Warden