Recently, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper wrote a newsletter about a waste site that Waterfront Toronto hopes to create near Cherry Beach.
We expressed concerns that the site would occupy land in the heart of Toronto's waterfront revitalization zone for the next twenty years. We noted that much of the contaminated soil that would be stockpiled on the site contains contaminants at levels well above the those that are considered safe for recreational areas.
We also expressed concerns that the Ministry of the Environment and Waterfront Toronto were going through the regulatory process in a staggered way - addressing one licence after the other, without considering the bigger picture and without in-depth public consultation.
Since we published that newsletter, Waterkeeper has met with the Ministry of the Environment and Waterfront Toronto to discuss the project. We also retained an expert to help us prepare technical comments on Waterfront Toronto's application for a licence to discharge contaminants into the air at the waste site.
You can read our consultant’s comments in detail HERE.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper still has concerns about the potential impacts of the waste site on local air and water quality, as well as recreational and mixed-use of this precious waterfront land in the coming years.
We are confident, though, that the Ministry of the Environment will make decisions in ways that are consistent with its "Statement of Environmental Values" - the binding policy that requires the Ministry to consider the bigger picture and ensure protection of the environment when it issues approvals like the ones that Waterfront Toronto is seeking.
We are also confident that Waterfront Toronto's primary objective - waterfront revitalization - will be a huge benefit to the City of Toronto.
In our most recent submission, we note that Waterfront Toronto faces two issues. First, there is the need to find a home for soils that are being dug up today. Second, there is the need to create a long-term treatment facility so that those soils can be safely cleaned and re-used in waterfront redevelopment.
Right now, our primary concern with the proposal is that Waterfront Toronto is seeking permission to open a waste site without knowing how the soil it brings there will be managed or treated in the future.
If something goes wrong or if circumstances change, Torontonians could be stuck with heaps of contaminated soil sitting on our waterfront.
The air emissions licence that we have just commented on is in reference to the soil that will blow around when waste is brought to the site, dumped, moved around, and removed. The site licence that we commented on a few weeks ago is connected to the use of the land as a waste site in general.
Neither licence is connected to the actual soil treatment facility. Waterkeeper is recommending that Waterfront Toronto be given the opportunity to figure out its soil recycling plans before the Ministry of the Environment approves the use of the site as a waste facility for decades to come.
Whichever technology Waterfront Toronto chooses to use will, in turn, dictate how soil should be managed and what precautions are necessary to protect air and water. Before that decision is made, everything else is just guesswork.
Read LOW's most recent submission on air emissions here.
Read LOW's first submission on the waste site here.
Listen to Living at the Barricades:
The Clearwater River is one of Canada's remaining pristine wilderness rivers. Few places on earth have such historical, cultural, navigable, and ecological value. So why is a Canadian oil company trying to take 17,000 cubic metres of water a day from this precious river? Mark and Krystyn learn more about the taking of the Clearwater River today, with guests Andrew Nikiforuk and Ruth Kleinbub.
Music in this Show
I Want to Take You Higher by Sly and the Family Stone
Give a Little, Take a Little by Jimmy Cliff
Take Me to the River by Al Green
Take Me Home Country Roads by Toots and the Maytals