Dump by a river new Tory trouble

Rating: NNNNNI'm no waste management specialist, but locating a garbage dump next to a river doesn't strike me as a.


Rating: NNNNN


I’m no waste management specialist, but locating a garbage dump next to a river doesn’t strike me as a stroke of environmental genius. And let’s face it, expanding a dump that’s next to a river and waspreviously slated for closure is mind-boggling.

Brian Wilson, a farmer near Lindsay, has been making that case to the so-called experts for 20 years.

But the local county government, and — surprise, surprise — the Harris Tories’ crack(ed) Ministry of Environment team have no qualms about expanding the Lindsay dump, which is sandwiched between Wilson’s farm and the Scugog River.

With visions of Walkerton dancing in their heads, area residents and cottagers who while away their summers swimming and fishing in the Scugog and up-river in Sturgeon Lake are already gearing up for battle. The residents of the toney resort community of Sturgeon Point recently organized POW — Protect Our Water.

On a recent cloudy Saturday morning, Wilson and I truck around the dump in his pickup. He points to all the properties the county is buying up to make way for more garbage.

But despite the dump expansion and the construction of the Tories’ new mega-prison just a minute down the highway, Wilson’s not selling out. The farm’s been in his family for several generations, and he’s a stubborn old boy.

Sipping coffee as the truck bumps along an overgrown sideroad that runs down to the river, Wilson recalls shooting a fox with mange and mucky, smelly geysers bubbling up at the base of his property.

Of course, the county insists it tests regularly and that the dump isn’t leeching onto his farm.

Other local farmers couldn’t believe Wilson’s luck when his cows delivered several sets of twins one year, he says. But he doesn’t consider it nature’s blessing, but more like an unnatural freak show.

We get out and walk through the narrow corridor of wetlands and woodlots that separates the dump from the riverbank.

An oily muck oozes up over my sandals as we hike along the river. Wilson says he’s seen the soil turn a deep red before. So much for the pristine land-o-lakes of rural Ontario.

Tory environment minister Dan Newman’s already in murky water over his department’s quiet approval of the dump. Not surprisingly, the local Tory MPP up here, management board chair Chris Hodgson, has been making himself scarce lately.

Not even the slick Tory TV ads promoting the so-called preservation of our boundless natural heritage can contain this stink.

scottand@nowtoronto.com

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