KIRKLAND LAKE -- Don't let the press reports fool you -- the decision about where Toronto will send its garbage has already been made. Let me rephrase that. The decision about where it will not send its garbage has been made.The trash trains will not be coming north to the abandoned open pits of the Adams Mine.
This decision wasn't made by Toronto's waste management bureaucrats, but by a group of resolute Timiskaming farmers who earlier this week climbed onto their tractors and combines and headed for the railway tracks.
For over three hours, they shut down freight traffic on the Ontario Northland railway. The message to Metro Works: Your trash trains will not travel on these tracks.
"Since this is our first action," explains one farmer, "we gave the railway half an hour's notice. Next time there won't be any."
The hard-line position is shared by the vast majority of residents in the region. After more than a decade of playing ball -- going to meetings, writing letters, taking part in T.O.'s "public process" -- people are fed up. It's been a sorry exercise in pseudo-democracy, where a relatively poor region has had to fight the big money and manipulation of Metro Works.
Average citizens have learned to do their own research. They've tracked down experts on hydrology and landfill science. They've tried to show that the fractured rock pits sunk deep into the water table represent a disaster waiting to happen.
But let's face it, the Adams Mine wasn't chosen because it represented the safest location for a mega-dump. It was chosen because it was in the boonies.
And despite years of overwhelming regional opposition, Toronto councillors are still discussing the merits of the Adams Mine.
They just don't get it.
The point was brought home a few weeks back when members of Toronto Council came north to tour the mine. The good burghers opted to be flown into the site by special helicopter. But those pesky locals still managed to catch up with them.
"How many helicopters do you think you'll need to move your garbage to this site?" a farmer asked councillor Jack Layton, who by the way is opposed to dumping in Timiskaming.
It's a good question.
T.O. councillors should save themselves an embarrassing scrap. Folks up here don't want the garbage. We don't want to be dragged along through another stacked round of public "process."
We have our own problems to attend to, and dealing with Toronto's waste isn't one of them.