Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION More trash talk
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 30 Aug 2006, p. 6

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While Halton Region Chair Joyce Savoline has made it clear Halton has no intention of becoming an easy solution to Toronto's waste woes, it's easy to understand how outsiders might have recently reached a different conclusion. Ever since Michigan began getting tougher on out-ofstate trash-- making it possible that truckloads of Toronto's garbage will soon be turned away at the border-- Halton leaders have feared that years of foresight might provide Ontario's largest city with an easy way out. In April of 2004, then-provincial Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky sent Savoline a letter stating that she could not excuse Halton's landfill from being a potential emergency site to take Toronto's trash. The correspondence had a galvanizing effect among Halton regional councillors, who vowed to protect the landfill's lifespan through a series of waste diversion initiatives. In the more than two years that have passed, regional council has been the model of consistency on the topic of extending the life of Halton's landfill for our region's waste. Halton council was back to a defensive posture again last fall after it became known the province had been secretly compiling a list of Ontario landfills that could accommodate one million tonnes of trash per year from Toronto, York, Peel and Durham regions. At the time, inside sources said Halton's landfill in Milton could be on the list since it's one of the few in the province large enough to take extra garbage should Michigan close its border. Once again came the loud and clear message from regional council-- Halton doesn't want the GTA's garbage. Earlier this month, the region's consistent, hardline policy appeared to soften ever so slightly. In announcing the possibility of Halton building an energy-from-waste (EFW), long-term solution to the finite lifespan of its landfill, the region noted that Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten had provided written confirmation that Halton Region has approval under the Environmental Assessment Act to implement an EFW facility. One potential scenario includes Halton building an EFW large enough to take waste from other regions. Given Halton's past reputation as a municipality with room to spare in its landfill, it's not hard to understand how the region's EFW announcement would be viewed by other GTA municipalities as a solution to their problem. If Halton wants to ensure it won't get dumped on by the likes of Toronto, it should consider building an EFW capable of handling only as much waste as our region produces. While Halton may not be eyeing Toronto garbage, regional councillors can be sure that Toronto and other GTA municipalities with serious waste management issues have never stopped eyeing Halton.

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30 Aug 2006
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Savoline, Joyce
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OPINION More trash talk