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1,800 protest Site 41 at rally

The Barrie Examiner reports this morning that, “More than 1,200 people (the CBC reported 1,800 people) attending a rally here Saturday opposing the North Simcoe Landfill, formerly known as Site 41, sent an unequivocal message to Premier Dalton McGuinty. Halt dump Site 41.”

“Those at the rally cheered as speakers called for a moratorium on construction at the controversial landfill to allow for a thorough review. The event attracted not only a large crowd, but it was the focus of national media coverage. That’s a sign, says Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians chairperson, that Site 41 is gaining wider attention.”

“Barlow …questioned the evidence being relied on by Simcoe County and Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment to justify proceeding with the dump. ‘They say it’s safe to dump there. That is not true,’ she said. ‘We have information about the water table, but we can’t get the computer model they are relying on. Jagger Hims (the company that carried out the testing) won’t release it, even though Ontario’s privacy commissioner has ordered that it be released. Jagger Hims has been purchased by a firm advising the county on landfills. We need the moratorium so we can have an independent peer review.'”

“Barlow pointed to the lack of clean drinking water worldwide, noting that every eight seconds a child dies somewhere of a waterborne disease. ‘This is not some kind of a game that is being played. We are living in a world that is running out of water, and we need to protect what we have. We have to protect the Alliston aquifer with whatever means we have to use,’ Barlow said.”

“She said her organization will seek a court injunction to obtain a moratorium on work at the site.”

Other speakers at the rally included Mary Muter with Georgian Bay Forever; Judith Grant, president of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations; Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay; Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton; Vicki Monague of the Anishinabe Kweag from Beausoleil First Nation; and former Toronto mayor David Crombie.

Crombie told the rally that Site 41 has been “environmentally illegitimate since it began. Twenty years ago, the review board rejected it as inappropriate. It was allowed to stay on the agenda through a political back-door deal and for 15 years they have tried to fit a square peg in a round hole. It flies in the face of everything we have tried to learn in the last 25 years about our relationship with nature and the environment. This dump stands in denial of all those things we thought we understood. That’s why Gordon Miller, the independent environmental commissioner of Ontario, says there should be a moratorium and a review of this site. Some say, ‘we have spent so much money we must simply complete it,’ but it’s never ever too late to do the right thing.”

The full article is at http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1673395.

The joint op-ed by Maude Barlow and David Crombie from Sunday’s Toronto Star can be read at http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/671646.