June 25, 2014
Council approves Beachville air-shed work plan
Investigation responds to community concerns about air quality from aggregate operations in the area
County Council approved the undertaking of a Beachville air-shed work plan at Council this evening. The motion responds to community concerns about air quality from existing aggregate operations in the area, particularly a local lime quarry that would encompass Walker’s proposed landfill site.
The investigation, led by Oxford County Public Health in partnership with Public Health Ontario and in consultation with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, will collect new, independent air quality data and examine scientific research on whether or not aggregate operations can cause an adverse impact to air quality and, thereby, affect human health.
In preliminary conversations with Public Health, the Ministry of the Environment indicated it will add a fourth air monitor in the Beachville area; compile historical data for Public Health’s review; study air quality influenced by truck traffic in the area; and commit to considering new land uses, such as landfill, for their additive effects on existing air quality issues.
Public Health found that earlier Beachville air quality reports published by the Ministry of the Environment and the health unit 11 years ago were inconclusive due to incomplete records and unreliable air monitoring equipment and, as a result, it recommended further investigation.
Council Report CAO 2014-08 responds to a motion passed on March 26, 2014, for the County’s Chief Administrative Officer to return to Council with a legal opinion on pursuing an injunction against Walker Environmental Group’s Environmental Assessment (EA) process for the Southwestern Landfill Proposal in Zorra Township. The staff report explains that the conditions for either a temporary or permanent injunction against the proposed landfill’s EA process are not met at present time.
The original request for an injunction was made by a public delegation to Council at the March 26 meeting. In April, some members of that group approached both Public Health and the Ministry of Environment separately to discuss air quality concerns in Beachville.
The report for an air-shed work plan presented to Council this evening was a closed session report and released to the public on Council approval. A summary of legal opinion obtained by the County has not been released under solicitor-client privillege as it could negatively impact any future legal proceedings.
Read Council Report CAO 2014-08
Don McKay, Warden, County of Oxford
“At County Council and in our own Councils, we made a commitment to ensure the best interests of our communities are considered as part of the EA process for the Walker landfill proposal. The concerns about air quality in Beachville stand alone as an independent community concern, and we acknowledge the work of concerned citizens in bringing this issue forward and pressing for action.”
- Public Health Ontario is a Crown corporation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of all Ontarians and reducing inequities in health. PHO’s work includes research, operating public health laboratories, professional development and knowledge services. Its main clients are local public health units, government and health care providers and institutions. PHO is funded by the Ontario Government through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
- Walker Environmental Group has filed an application to develop a waste landfill in a mined quarry at Part Lots 14 & 15 Concession 3 Zorra Township, the site of Carmeuse Lime (Canada) Beachville Operations.
About Oxford County
Located in the heart of southwestern Ontario, Oxford County has a population of approximately 109,000 people across eight municipalities that are “growing stronger together” through a partnership-oriented, two-tier municipal government incorporated as the County of Oxford. One of Ontario’s richest areas for farmland, Oxford County also boasts a rapidly expanding commercial and industrial sector that is bolstered by its choice location at the crossing of Highways 401 and 403. The County is home to a thriving local arts, culture and culinary community, as well as conservation parks, natural areas and more than 100 kilometres of scenic trails. The Oxford County Administration Building is located in Woodstock. Visit www.oxfordcounty.ca or follow our social media sites at www.oxfordcounty.ca/social. Oxford County’s Strategic Plan is at oxfordcounty.ca/strategicplan.
Tommasina Conte | Strategic Communication & Engagement
519.539.9800, ext. 3503 | firstname.lastname@example.org