believe it or not, the ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) has become a thorn in the side of big-time developers Jim DeGasperis and Marco Muzzo. The two own the land immediately surrounding the Keele Valley landfill site, technically referred to as the secondary buffer zone, and plan to transform the former sand and gravel pit into a $10-million, 18-hole championship golf course and big-box store development after the dump closes in 2002.
The city of Vaughan has already given them the green light. The only remaining stumbling block is the MOE, which is not impressed by the fact that the developers have already leased out the land for various temporary uses without receiving environmental approval.
For example, there's currently a Jeep driving school and trailer storage facility on parts of the land, which the MOE objects to.
"The ministry is requiring York Major Holdings (DeGasperis and Muzzo) to obtain approval from the ministry for any usage of the lands governed by the certificate of approval for the Keele Valley landfill," says ministry spokesperson Isabella Di Cristosaro.
DeGasperis tells NOW that they're already dealing with the MOE on these issues. "The faster we move on to the final plan (for a golf course), the faster we can get rid of these temporary uses," he says.
The MOE has also informed the city of Toronto that it's on the hook, since monitoring of the buffer zone is the city's responsibility. Toronto's solid waste management general manager, Angelos Bacopoulos, says that while the city is responsible for any problems that originate in the landfill and spill into the buffer zone, it shouldn't be held responsible for how the owners use the land.
Says Bacopoulos, "We don't want to be custodians for this property."SCOTT ANDERSON