Timeline - Local Media Coverage 2013

January 4/13 - SPECIAL REPORT Tempest on the Thames 


1297359739204 Originalphoto London Free Press

"A battle is brewing and the battleground is along the London area’s natural jewel, the Thames River. One company wants to dig a quarry on land bordering the river near St. Marys to extract sand and gravel; another wants to turn an old quarry in Beachville into a dump. At stake, opponents say, is everything from increased noise pollution, to more pressure on at-risk wildlife, to the quality of our drinking water. Randy Richmond reports"

January 8/13 - Minister Brushes Off Request for Landfill Moratorium 


"The provincial Environment Minister had chimed in on the Walker Landfill proposal.
But in a two page letter, responding to Oxford County Council, Jim Bradley doesn't say much."

January 10/13 -Comiskey's Comments on Landfill Letter 


"Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey also isn't pleased with the provincial Environment Minister's response to landfill concerns. "I think that I would have liked to have seen a little more concern about the whole situation.'"

January 16/13 - Landfill community liaison committee voices frustration


"Resid ent members of the community liaison committee (CLC) for Walker Environmental Group's proposed landfill in Zorra have voiced frustration and raised concerns about whether their input is being heard in developing the proposal's terms of reference."

January 17/13 - Walker Tape Gate: Public Process vs. Protecting Privacy


A dispute has broken out over access to audio recordings of meetings being held by Walker Industries on their proposed landfill in Beachville.

A public member of the Community Liaison Committee, that meets once per month, is raising issue with Walker's providing access to recordings of their committee meetings."

January 22/13 - OPAL and Ingersoll Nature Club hosting free movie screening


"Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) and the Ingersoll District Nature Club are hosting a free afternoon at the movies next month.

Encouraging people to be more mindful of the waste created at home, the groups are screening Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home at the CAW Hall in Ingersoll at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013." 

January 30/13 - CLC Presented with Social/Economic Impacts


"What social and economical impacts will the proposed landfill in Beachville have on the surrounding area? 

The Community Liaison Committee heard initial thoughts to this answer from experts from AECOM Wednesday. Senior Environmental Consultant Tomasz Wlodarczyk says they shared the factors or the criteria that they want to examine." 

Feb 2/13 - Comiskey presses province on landfills


"With the spectre of a possible new landfill being built on his town's border, Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey is pushing the provincial Environment Ministry to take some positive concrete steps when it comes to landfills.

At the recent Rural Ontario Municipal Association conference Comiskey had an opportunity to pose his questions around landfills directly to Environment Minister Jim Bradley.

Comiskey asked about how municipalities will be able to get control of landfill sites in their jurisdiction, so you don't have Toronto's garbage being shipped out of town and secondly asked about how to reduce the need for dumps.

Comiskey says the Minister's response was pretty generic but Comiskey adds there are specifics that need to be addressed.

Comiskey says even if we bury our heads in the sand, the next generation will be looking and judging our inaction"

February 7/13 - 14 Experts Assembled for Landfill Peer Review Team


"The assembled team that will be studying the issues surrounding the Walker Landfill Proposal has been released. 

The list includes 14 experts in their field, from traffic, to groundwater, to economics, the team of consultants will be meeting on a regular basis to share their findings on the impacts of a potential mega-landfill in the Beachville Quarry. 

The Peer Review Team will be headed up by Chris Haussmann, of Haussmann Consulting, who tells Heart FM, "Our report goes first to the municipal coordinating committee for their acceptance, and then it would go to Walker, but they would also be public documents." 

A website will also be established to keep the public up to date on developments from the Peer Review Team."

February 7/13 -Peer review panel appointed to watch guard Walker environmental assessment


"An expert panel has been appointed to delve into the thorny issue of Walker Environmental Group’s proposal to build a large and controversial landfill site in a mined Beachville quarry.

Led by Chris Haussmann of Haussman Consulting Inc., the panel, paid for by Walker, is comprised of professional advisors and consultants appointed by Oxford municipalities.

“The peer review team is a technical team, that will conduct a technical review of the environmental assessment study that Walker is required to conduct, “ Haussmann said Thursday. “What is important to understand is our focus is to make sure what Walker does is technically accurate and complete.”

March 6/13 - Oxford landfill site opponent gets new ally


“We are absolutely thrilled to be making this announcement,” says OPAL chairperson, Steve McSwiggan. “CELA’s assistance will help to level the playing field as we take our opposition to this landfill straight to the provincial government later this year, and we thank CELA for believing in our cause.”

March 6/13 - OPAL Obtain Legal Support


Oxford People Against the Landfill have levelled the playing field against Walker Environmental. 

That's according to OPAL chairperson Steve McSwiggan after the group retained legal services. 

He says the Canadian Environmental Law Association or CELA is a perfect fit for them. "The cost of lawyers, the cost of experts all of those things are playing very large in what we are trying to accomplish here. We need a lot of help to rebut the terms of reference, we need help and legal advise on the E.A. (Environmental Assessment) process and CELA offers all of that assistance". 

CELA's legal experts have successfully assisted in the fights against other landfills.

McSwiggan says they are building a strong team that will help them in the long run with the landfill proposal. 

While much of CELA's expertise is being offered to OPAL free of charge, there will be some expenses. McSwiggan hopes the community will assist with some of these costs.

Monday, March 18/13 - Canadian Environmental Law Association supporting OPAL


The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) has partnered with Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) to provide legal representation for its fight against Walker Environmental Group's proposed landfill in Zorra.

“CELA will provide the Oxford County residents' group opposing the mega-landfill with legal experts that specialize in protecting water supplies and keeping communities safe from potentially dangerous projects such as landfills,” said OPAL in a press release.

OPAL is “thrilled” to have CELA on board, said chair Steve McSwiggan.

“CELA’s assistance will help to level the playing field as we take our opposition to this landfill straight to the provincial government later this year, and we thank CELA for believing in our cause.”

While much of CELA’s expertise is being offered to OPAL free of charge, McSwiggan said there are ongoing expenses related to legal services for which OPAL is responsible.

“We hope people around our county will donate what they can to assist us with legal and expert costs going forward,” he said. “This battle for our communities in Oxford County is being fought on behalf of all current and future residents, and I truly believe the health of our citizens, economy and environment are worth every effort to protect.”

March 21/13 - OPAL to host swap and share festival May 25 to encourage the reduction of trash in landfill


FOLDENS - If you’re opposing a dump, there’s a certain amount of irony in seeing cast-off items destined for one sitting at the end your driveway.
During the municipal large item curbside collections last year, Oxford People Against Landfill (OPAL) chairperson Steve McSwiggan explained many people were struck by the irony of residents’ discarded items piled next to their Stop the Dump lawn signs.

“I was putting big items out on the front lawn, when it struck home with me,” he said. “If we’re going to oppose the dump we’re going to have to be really conscience of what we’re throwing out. We need to divert as much as possible.”

After a brain storming session, that new focus has translated into a free family festival in Foldens slated for May 25 to give discarded items a second chance.

“We’re not only opposing the dump, we’re practicing what we’re saying,” McSwiggan said.

March 25/13 - 'Ingersoll isn't laying down on this one'


“I love Ingersoll and I don't want this landfill next to my town,” he said. “We have to make sure the ministry (of environment) is aware of the feeling of the Town of Ingersoll (toward the landfill).We have to make sure the ministry is aware of the effects that could potentially happen...have already started (to happen). This is not something 13,000 people want to see on their doorstep.”

He is encouraging residents to make sure they're heard, including supporting the efforts of Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL).

“I think we have to impress upon the ministry there's a community trying to voice its honest opinion and it can't be ignored,” he said. “Ingersoll isn't laying down on this one.”

April 3/13 - OPAL asks MNR for quarry rehab response


Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) wants to know what Ontario's new Minister of Natural Resources plans to do about enforcing rehabilitation plans for pits and quarries.

In an April 1 letter addressed to Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti, OPAL raises its concern about Walker Industries' proposed landfill at Carmeuse Lime in Zorra Township. It includes concerns that the site rehabilitation plan for the Carmeuse property filed with the Ontario Aggregate Resources Act (ARA) would, in effect, be cancelled if the landfill proposal is approved.

April 3/13 - Expert panel tours site of proposed mega dump


BEACHVILLE - An expert technical panel keeping tabs on a controversial landfill site proposed by Walker Industries say they have taken “important first steps” in their environmental assessment inquiry, including a tour of the Carmeuse quarry in Zorra Township.

April 8/13 - Location of Landfill Meeting Called into Question 


…Mike Farlow, who sits on the committee isn't happy the meeting is being held at Walkers' office in Ingersoll. He wants it held at the Beachville Museum to give the public greater access. "We were told during the meetings that however we wanted to structure it is how Walker would put it together. Now we're finding out that saying so, doesn't make it so because they're trying to put it in a format that isn't what we asked for at all."

Walker General Manager, Joe Lyng, says he's aware of the request, but still intends on holding the meeting at Walker's office.

April 15/13 - Landfill expert answers leave more questions 


A day spent with a panel of experts left many members of the community liaison committee with more questions than answers about the Walker Environmental Group’s proposed landfill in Zorra Township.

…Joe Lyng, Walker general manager, said the decision to hold the meeting at the office was made to ensure the in-depth questions had a chance to be answered. 

He said the meeting was aimed at the CLC members and their alternates not the general public because the levels of questions would be more complex.

April 15/13 - Thames River Cleanup this Saturday 


This year, the Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) will be on hand at the river cleanup with a display board. The group will also be cooking up lunch for the volunteers.

April 21/13 - Woodstock Says 'No' To Walker Waste Water 


Woodstock will not support Walker Environmental releasing waste water into local treatment plants. 

City council voted unanimously to approve a motion that would see Mayor Pat Sobeski send a letter to the company stating Walker will have to deal with waste on their own site. 

Walker is the company attempting to establish a large landfill in Beachville. At a similar facility in Niagara, Walker takes the leachate from its landfill and uses storm ponds and ditches to collect the run-off, and then pumps the surface water to a nearby waste water treatment plant.

Sobeski says Woodstock has always been protective of cross boarder services and the city wants it on record that they will prohibit the expansion of waste water facilities and infrastructure to accommodate Walker in Oxford County. 

This comes as as Walker prepares to put forth their terms of reference for an environmental assessment in late-May.

April 23/13 - Group opposed to Zorra landfill praises Woodstock’s position on wastewater


Oxford People Against Landfill (OPAL) say they are pleased that the City of Woodstock's decision “to step up and send a strong message to Walker Industries.”

On April 22, City Council unanimously voted to support sending letters to the Walker, the Ministry of the Environment and several municipalities stating their position that they would not be willing to accept wastewater from the proposed landfill site in Zorra Township.

OPAL was formed a year ago to actively oppose Walker Industries' proposal to build a large and controversial landfill site in a mined Beachville quarry.

OPAL chairperson Steve McSwiggan described Woodstock’s actions as “a positive step.”

“We in Oxford – both citizens and our leaders - must say to Walker, ‘We are not willing hosts and we will not willingly have this type of industry take advantage of our existing infrastructure,’” McSwiggan said in a release.

April 15, 2013 Thames River Cleanup this Saturday


This year, the Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) will be on hand at the river cleanup with a display board. The group will also be cooking up lunch for the volunteers.

April 28, 2013 Thames River Clean Up a good way to give back: volunteer


About 20 OPAL supporters took part in the clean up on Saturday, said Steve McSwiggan, chair of the group that is fighting Walker Environmental Group's proposal for a landfill in Zorra.

“We also have an environmental conscience, so we'll do whatever we can to help,” he said. “And part of that is keeping our town and our county clean.”
He said OPAL members decided to take the clean up one step farther by separating recyclables from the trash they collected.

May 8, 2013-County asks for landfill health risk study


County Council is asking Walker Environmental Group to undertake a health risk assessment with an epidemiologist to investigate potential health effects associated with the proposed Beachville landfill.

May 9, 2013 - Environmental lawyer resigns, can't represent town


Ingersoll will have a new environmental lawyer to represent the town's interests through Walker Environmental Group's proposed landfill process.

Less than a month after council passed a resolution to retain the legal expertise of environmental lawyer Rodney V. Northey of Fogler, Rubinoff LLP, Northey resigned his position at the firm and is no longer able to act as legal representation for the town, according to a press release issued by the town Wednesday, May 8.

“Northey has confirmed that following his departure from Fogler, Rubinoff LLP he will have a conflict of interest which will render him unable to act for the Town of Ingersoll in cases involving the Walker Environmental Group and the proposed landfill,” the press release states.

Ingersoll CAO Darell Parker said the town continues to work with Fogler, Rubinoff LLP and retains expert and exclusive legal representation on this matter.

OC Living May 18/13 Walker Environmental Group


On May 14/13 Walker Environmental Group held a Public Open House at the Woodstock Quality Inn. Walker Group are proposing a mega-landfill for a portion of the Carmeuse Quarry in the Centreville/Beachviller/Ingersoll area. This report includes interviews with Walker's Joe Lyng, Oxford People Against The Landfill also known as OPAL's Karen Paton Evans, Community Liason Committee member Mike Farlow and the Mayor of the Town Of Tillsonburg and Oxford County Councillor, John Lessif.

May 23, 2013 OPAL discusses landfill Terms of Reference with County 


Members of the Oxford People Against the Landfill Alliance attended county council on Wednesday night, encouraging the county to make information about Walker Environmental Group’s Terms of Reference for the proposed Beachville landfill site easily accessible on the county’s website.

OPAL Alliance suggested to council that an environmental assessment flowchart and a thorough explanation of it, along with a timeline of Walker’s Terms of Reference submissions, be added to the Oxford County website and the websites of various municipalities


May 25/13 - Trashapalooza Day


It will be a dumpster diva's delight today.

Oxford People Against the Landfill are hosting Trashapalooza! 

It's a recycling and fundraising event being hosted by the group battling the Walker Landfill proposal. 

The event is an opportunity to bring household goods you no longer use, but maybe someone else will pick it up and give it a second life. 
Karen Paton-Evans says they're also looking for these donations. 

"Collecting scrap metal so we will be able to send those to a recycler and get cash for them to help fund OPAL's ongoing expenses for a hydrogeologist and an air quality expert as we try to figure out how we're going to continue fighting Walker's landfill proposal." 

There will also be speakers and musical performances at the event.

It runs from 9 till 6 at the Foldens Hall and Shop at the corner of Sweaburg Road and Foldens Line.

May 26/13 - OPAL's Trashapolooza swap meet a big hit


Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose – it was all happening in Foldens on Saturday during Trashapolooza hosted by Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL).

A disused municipal garage owned by the Township of South-West Oxford was bustling with activity as people dropped off items they no longer needed and many of them were quickly scooped up by others.

May 27/13 - Walker Releases Draft Terms of Reference


Walker Environmental, as scheduled, released its draft Terms of Reference late last week.

It's a 31 page document, outlining the various questions and concerns raised by the public as it relates to the impact the landfill would have. Walker's "technical experts" will attempt to answer those concerns.

June 3/13 - Flat tire repairs fuel OPAL efforts


A Zorra Township man is doing what he knows best to raise money for a cause close to his heart.

Doug Thomas is hosting a special Flat Tire Repair Day on June 15 to raise money for the Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) alliance.

“I’m trying to do the right thing, you have to pick and choose your battles,” Thomas said. “This landfill, if it goes through, it will decimate Ingersoll. I plan to stay there, and I want to do everything I can to stop it.”

June 6/13 - OPAL Request Public Comment Period Extension From Walker


Oxford People Against the Landfill has requested a 60-day extension from Walker on the current public comment period.

Spokesperson Steve McSwiggan says even without the circumstances surrounding the document, more time is necessary. "For them to roll out 6000 pages of documentation from the last year, and then ask our community to review it in 30-days is a little ridiculous."

McSwiggan says time is of the essence. "The final terms are on our doorstep now, happening in July and August. It's evermore important that Oxford County really review what they have on the plate right now, and have their comments ready on that document. This is a key moment, a pivotal moment for Oxford County."

June 11/13 - Walker Not Willing to Extend Public Comment Period


A 60-day extension on the current public comment period on the landfill proposal isn't likely to happen.

Oxford People Against the Landfill have asked for an extension to allow for more time to review the Draft Terms of Reference that came out May 23rd.
However, Walker GM Joe Lyng doesn't seem willing to oblige. "At this point, we think the 30-day review period that we've put out is adequate."

June 14/13 - CLC claim issues over Walker's terms of reference


Members of the community liaison committee (CLC) claim Walker Environmental Group has dumped its responsibility to keep the public informed surrounding a proposed landfill in Zorra Township.

Thomas Corbett, a member of the CLC tasked with representing the community in monthly meetings with Walker, said issues have arisen over the last month regarding the draft Terms of Reference required in Walker’s application.

Corbett said it would be almost impossible for the public to digest the amount of material included in Terms of Reference in the timeframe provide.
“It’s on the Walker website but you’re talking 6,000 pages and every other page was put online upside down,” Corbett said.

June 17/13 - A Dirty Business (Article in Ontario Nature Magazine)  by Ian Merringer


Residents of Oxford County are fighting a proposed landfill in a quarry near their community and protected areas of endangered wildlife

June 20/13 - Landfill opponents take their message on the road


Holding up “no dump” signs at the intersection of Beachville Road and Folden's Line on Thursday, a group of concerned citizens displayed their opposition to a proposed landfill in the Township of Zorra.

With many drivers honking their horns in support, the protest was staged to bring attention to Walker Environmental Group's plan to convert a quarry owned by Carmeuse Lime into a landfill.

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June 23/13 - OPAL raises concerns over 'inconsistent' public comment period


File 1photo M. Cooper

The sign on the door said, “open, come in.” Instead, Walker Environmental Group's Ingersoll office was locked when members of Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) attempted to deliver comments on the landfill proposal's draft terms of reference on Friday, June 21.

Friday was deadline day for the initial public comment period on the draft terms of reference for the environmental assessment of the landfill Walker is proposing in the Township of Zorra.

OPAL research chair Suzanne Crellin said with the open sign displayed, the group initially thought public pressure had led the company to accept submissions on Friday.

“Unfortunately, the door was locked and there were no employees on site,” she said.

July 8/13 - Landfill Review Team Questions Work Plans, Calls for Extension of Comment Period


Walker Environmental Group isn't getting a passing grade from the technical experts on its first attempt at explaining its landfill proposal.

Oxford County's Peer Review Team is out with a 124-page report, in response to Walker's draft Terms of Reference on its plans to open a massive landfill in Beachville.

The team of 14 technical experts say the work plans are too generic, and lacking detail. Peer Review Team Manager Chris Haussmann tells Heart FM, "The work plans that they include are so generic that we really can't determine whether they would be appropriate or adequate to the task of properly assessing the affects of the proposal of the environment."

July 9/13 - Mega-dump concerns raised


Members of the expert technical panel overseeing the controversial landfill site proposed by Walker Industries have several concerns and questions about the dump’s draft terms of reference.

July 26/13- Ministry wants Walker to spend more time on concerns


ZORRA TOWNSHIP - The Ministry of the Environment wants Walker Environmental Group to spend more time addressing community concerns about the proposed landfill for Zorra Township and include more detail in its Terms of Reference for the project.

In a 12-page document dated July 5, provincial MOE special project officer Michelle Whitmore reviewed the draft Terms of Reference (ToR) received by the ministry May 23 and points out areas of the plan that require more information.