A victory for municipal rights in Ontario. Legislature passes Bill 197 Section 6 – requiring landfill developers to have the approval of local municipal council and every municipal council for communities within 3.5 km of the proposed landfill site. If such approvals are not included in the landfill developers final environmental assessment submission documents, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks will not approve the project.
The Demand the Right Coalition is a group of over 150 municipalities that worked with the provincial government to develop and pass new legislation that provides municipal approval rights for new landfills in impacted communities.
With the passing of Ontario Bill 197, Section 6, any company seeking to develop a new landfill site within 3.5 km of a municipal boundary will need the approval of the host municipality... and the adjacent municipality. If that proposed landfill will be more that 3.5km from another municipality's border, the waste management company need only the approval of the host municipality, and of course, meeting the same technical standards of Ministry of the Environment approval process.
This is what the Demand the Right Coalition spent three years working the Provincial Government to accomplish - to create legislation - and in July of 2020 - we succeeded.
But Ontario's waste management industry believes that putting municipalities on a level playing field with the landfill operators will KILL ANY NEW LANDFILL PROPOSALS. Yet, we know (and they know) that many municipalities will still entertain proposals for new landfill sites in their communities, if they can negotiate location, environmental impacts, and financial benefits. The cost of landfilling may go up, a bit. But this only provides an incentive for innovations in reuse, recycling, and reduction.
SO, THIS IS OUR MESSAGE TO THE INDUSTRY --- If your business model doesn't allow for community input and approval, then you need a new business model. The industry needs to remind itself that while municipalities now have the right to say no, they also have the right to say yes.
It appears to us, that rather than create a business model that can stand up to public scrutiny, the industry would prefer to remain operating in the dark and use bafflegab to convince local residents that everything will be fine. Those days are done. Local residents now need to be more than just heard,. Their needs must be listened to and met.
Ontario’s landfill capacity (both public and private landfills) will run out by 2028-2032. Private waste operators are looking at new sites, now.
Ontario’s overall diversion rate has stalled over the last 15 years, with only 30% of waste diverted to recycling, composting or re-using, and 70% going to landfills.
Ontario generates over 8 million tonnes of waste annually that goes to landfill - garbage that would fill Toronto’s Rogers Centre to the roof over 90 times a year.