Ignoring over 30 years of community resistance, Simcoe County is beginning development on Landfill Site #41 – a project rubber-stamped by the Province and scheduled to be in full operation by the end of this year. First Nations groups, local residents, and organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation, are all protesting this decision, claiming that it goes against Ontario’s Clean Water Act since Site 41’s location contains natural and unspoiled artesian water sources.
Site 41 lies atop the Alliston Aquifer in Tiny Township (northwest of Barrie, Ontario) which provides drinking water to local residents. Scientists have declared the aquifer to be so pristine that it is comparable to ancient arctic ice. The aquifer is also in close proximity to three First Nations reserves (Rama, Georgina Island and Beausoleil) and the area above the aquifer serves as the traditional harvesting area of the Métis Nation. Aboriginal peoples have not been consulted about the development of the garbage dump site.
There is serious concern that the leachate (liquid drainage) from the landfill will end up leaking into the surrounding water table causing widespread contamination. Overall, there are 13 Rivers and Streams in the upper aquitard of Site 41.
According to the Ministry of the Environment Certificate of Approval, Site 41 is to rely on the pressure of upward hydraulic gradients for structural integrity. This essentially means that since water at the site flows upward, any leak would see water going into the dump rather than discharge going into the aquifer. However, the County of Simcoe-created Community Monitoring Committee for Site 41 contests the existence of the necessary upward hydraulic pressure and claim that the lack of such pressure represents a breach of the Certificate of Approval. The province has thusfar refused to release any details of the water flow to allay residents’ concerns.
On March 30th, 2009, the province began dewatering the aquifer at the rate of over 410 000 litres per day with a goal of removing a total of 225 million litres to make way for the garbage. On May 14th, five Aboriginal women made a public stand against Site 41, setting up camp at the site and refusing to leave until the destruction of the water source is permanently stopped. They are still there, organizing the continued opposition to the Dump Site.
On June 10th, the Council of Canadians had lawyer Steven Shrybman send a letter to the Simcoe County Warden and Councillors, as well as to the Minister of the Environment, threatening legal action if construction at the site continues. The organization’s chair, Maude Barlow, also serves as the senior adviser on water to the President of the United Nations General Assembly.
On June 24th, David Suzuki wrote a letter to Dalton McGuinty urging a halt to all construction on the landfill. The dewatering process has yet to cease.
-On June 30th 2009, the County of Simcoe will vote on a parking ban for Concession Road 2 which will interfere with the flow of supplies to the oppositional camp site and make those going to or from the camp have to walk. There is a demonstration planned to take place outside the council meeting at the Simcoe County Offices in Midhurst, Ontario. It is scheduled to start at 9am and end at 12pm.
-On July 4th, the Council of Canadians is organizing a march followed by a rally and concert to demonstrate the strong public opposition to Dump Site 41. Free buses will depart from and return to Toronto . Details can be found here: http://www.canadians.org/events/index.html
The organizers of the ongoing camp site at Site 41 have recently expressed a need for the following items:
water storage containers (hard plastic not soft), raincoats, binoculars, oil & gas for generator, gas cards, phone cards, dish rack, towels-facecloths-tea towels- table cloths, large 24×20 tarp & other sized tarps, environmentally friendly cleaning products such as dish detergent, liquid hand soap, shampoo & conditioner,sunscreen, bug repellent, ice box, ice daily, tobacco for sacred fire, 5-10 gal buckets with lids (previously used is fine), hemp twin, duct tape, outside shower set up and hand sanitizers.
Food needed: meat, lunch meats, cream, milk, fresh vegetables, prepared food, powered juices like iced tea and gatorade, ice, not necessary but appreciated: pop & munchies.
If you are interested in supporting those at the site in any way, get in touch with:
Anishinabe Kweag: Protesting Dump Site 41.
PO Box 148
Christian Island, ON L0K 1C0
705-247-2636 or 705-305-8425
Monetary donations can be deposited to the campsite campaign at:
Scotia Bank, Transit#: 40782, Account#: 0052116.