Mega dump plan near Ingersoll, Ont. 'on hold,' community leaders elated

A nine-year battle, by three unified communities, to stop a mega-dump is all but over.

Walker Environmental, the proponent of the 17-million tonne Ingersoll-area landfill, has sent letters to multiple politicians and interests groups advising the dump plan is “on hold."

The proposed landfill site, a former quarry bed, is located within Zorra Township.

There, Mayor Marcus Ryan is elated the nine-year fight to stop the dump has resulted in a "community” win.

“I think a clear message has been sent by the community. And, I think Walker Environmental has understood that message."

The message, passed the Thursday by Zorra Township council, basically states the community is not willing to host a landfill site.

Identical resolutions are expected to succeed next week at Ingersoll, South West Oxford and ultimately Oxford County councils.

The simple resolutions were not possible until legislative change permitted communities within 3.5 km of a dump site to challenge landfills.

Zorra Township, South West Oxford, and Ingersoll are all located within the required distance from the proposed dumpsite.

And now, without their support, Walker Environmental cannot proceed with its mega-dump plan.

Ryan says it -- finally -- allows all three communities the chance to move on.

“It’s been frankly a cloud for nine years, both in the context of people not wanting it and not wanting it to happen, but also a distraction in terms of what we wanted to be doing as a community, because it diverts a lot of your energy into that fight as opposed to what you want to be doing.”

Bryan Smith, the head of the Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) agrees.

Smith says it is a time for a community celebration for a significant accomplishment.

“I don’t think Walker had any anticipation of how much push back they were going to get from this community, extraordinarily determined.”

Still, Smith contends his group will remain “at the ready” should the dump issue resurface.

“If you watch enough zombie movies, that things come back from the dead now and again, or people will just re-jig a proposal, or people will just say we won’t use this quarry, we’ll use this quarry, so our intention is to be ready if they should be so foolish as to try to dust this off.”

And while the odds would seem small now, Ryan concedes remote loopholes remain.

“There is always the possibility that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing could write a zoning order. The Ministry of the Environment always has the opportunity to write an exception and allow the landfill to happen. That’s always possible.”