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WIN! Simcoe County council votes “to cease construction and all further development of Site 41”

8:18 am – Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara, water campaigner Meera Karunananthan, and I are again in Barrie for the scheduled vote at Simcoe County council on a permanent moratorium on Site 41, the proposed landfill in Tiny Township that would be built on top of the Alliston aquifer.

While a one-year moratorium was won at the August 25 Simcoe County council meeting, the politics have shifted and the county council now seems prepared to permanently shelve Site 41

There are concerns that unfriendly amendments may be introduced that undermine our campaign, so we are here today to work with councillors and allies to make sure that doesn’t happen.

There are several hundred people here already, and a long line has formed to enter into the public gallery of the council chamber. Read more about the tremendous win to stop Site 41 below!

9:02 am – The gallery is full and Council staff text and network prior to the vote.

9:08 am – The discussion now is on whether county council will reverse its decision to spend $250,000 on a public relations firm due to the landfill fightback.

9:25 am – Warden Tony Guergis threatens to clear the gallery when people applaud a statement from a councillor who says that Simcoe County’s best pr is listening to the people, not spending this money on a firm. The discussion is then deferred.

9:35 am – Councillor Doug Little moves to close the dump, but appears to speak against amendments that would prevent the land from being used in the future.

9:37 am – Councillor Anita Dubeau calls for a discussion on a waste management strategy, and says amendments that limit options – such as asking the Ministry of Environment to revoke the certificate of approval – are premature.

9:40 am – Guergis says the ‘no future development of a landfill on that site’ in Little’s motion means no garbage is to be buried there. Little says no garbage to be buried, but let’s hold on to the certificate of approval.

9:45 am – Collingwood mayor Chris Carrier calls for an amendment to the motion. Guergis warns against this saying it means the whole day will be a garbage debate. Carrier raises the concern of selling the land to a private developer. Will such discussions occur?, Carrier asks. Carrier insists that the certificate of approval be revoked.

9:51 am – County council votes 84-28 to defeat a motion calling for the provincial certificate of approval to be revoked.

9:58 am – Simcoe County council votes in 93-13 “to cease construction and all further development of Site 41”.

This is a tremendous win to stop Site 41 (and it supersedes the one-year moratorium), and we will simply need to watch for other developments. The sense is that the supporters of the dump will make no further moves until after the next municipal election in November 2010. But it is clear that for anything to happen to that land, it will require a further decision by Simcoe County council. Tiny Township deputy mayor George Lawrence says we won, the landfill is dead, and it was the very best we could accomplish today. It’s also a win that was perhaps unimaginable a year ago.