Several townships are urging the province to recognize local expertise and provide them with the right to approve large landfill sites in or adjacent to their municipality

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There is growing support for a provincial law that would require municipalities to approve large-scale landfill projects before they can be established in their community.

Bryan Smith, president of the Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL), said all the municipalities in Oxford County have or are in the process of passing a resolution that would urge the province to allow municipalities to have the right to reject or approve such projects in or adjacent to their municipality.

Smith said OPAL, which consists of a board of 12 members, 40 members and hundreds of volunteers, has requesting that municipalities take a stance on whether “communities have the right to approve projects on this scale.”

Outside the county four municipalities, including the townships of Ryerson, Morris-Turnberry, Chatsworth and Warwick, have also passed resolutions.

Walker Environmental is still only about halfway through their environmental assessment, which is expected to be completed by 2021 or 2022, of the proposed dump to be located at Carmeuse site. Despite the lengthy timeline, Smith said OPAL will continue to make opposition to the landfill a priority.

Members take part in weekly sign waving activities to raise awareness across the county.

“It’s important to let people who live in Oxford County know the fight goes on,” he said. “Some people would tell you the fight is over and it’s done deal.”

Smith said OPAL will continue to engage the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and hope to speak soon with new energy minister Chris Ballard.

“We will continue to look for science that will assist us and look for allies across Ontario,” Smith said.

Last year a total of 98,486 letters had been sent to Queen’s Park in opposition to the dump with signatures from Oxford, as well as from across the province.

Smith said he is particularly encouraged by a quote from a ministry official which stated “the terms of reference for the southwestern project includes an analysis of the need for the project, based on available landfill capacity in Ontario.”

“If the province decides there are too many landfills, they should logically not approve it anymore,” Smith said.

HRivers@postmedia.com

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