Written by Noelina Ashwani Dsouza, Staff Writer

In the Dresden, Ontario, a proposal for the use of a existing landfill for a recycling facility by York1 Waste Solutions is facing fierce opposition by locate residents and politicians.

has sparked a heated debate that highlights the challenges of implementing sustainable waste management solutions. York1’s plan to repurpose an old landfill into a recycling facility for construction materials promises significant environmental benefits and economic opportunities for the community. However, the project has faced staunch opposition from residents concerned about its potential impact on their town.

Dresden is an agricultural community in southwestern Ontario, Canada, part of the municipality of Chatham-Kent. It is located on the Sydenham River.

York1 provides environmental services to both public and private sectors, with a focus on non-hazardous solid waste management, soil remediation and beneficial reuse, and liquid waste solutions. The company operates across Canada with a large presence in Southern Ontario.

The Proposal

York1 has proposed that the 32-hectare property at located one kilometre north of town, be redeveloped into a recycling facility focused on diverting construction materials from landfills. The company intends to process items such as wood, plastic, drywall, bricks, and roofing shingles, with the goal of recycling 80% of the materials it handles. Any residual materials that cannot be recycled would be transferred to a landfill in Michigan, unless they originate from Chatham-Kent, in which case they could be buried on-site if approved.

Ontario’s construction industry generates 14.2 million tonnes of waste annually, but only 13% of this waste is diverted from landfills. At our current rate, Ontario could run out of landfill space by 2034. Construction Material Waste is the focus of York1’s facility.

To address concerns about the project’s impact on the community, York1 has purchased two farms to the north and south of the property to serve as buffer lands. This strategic move is intended to mitigate any potential disruptions and ensure that the facility integrates seamlessly into the surrounding area.

The Benefits

One of the key benefits of York1’s proposal is its potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of construction waste. By diverting materials from landfills, the facility would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and alleviate pressure on existing waste management infrastructure. Additionally, the recycling process would conserve valuable resources and promote a more sustainable approach to construction practices.

Unlike traditional landfills that simply bury waste, the Regenerative Recycling Facility will focus on recovering valuable resources for recycling and reuse. The facility targets the recovery and beneficial re-use of 80% of the construction waste that would have otherwise gone to landfill, helping the environment and conserving valuable materials. By recovering resources from waste, the facility will contribute to environmental conservation, reduce the strain on landfills, and promote a more circular and resource-efficient economy.

The project also offers economic benefits for the community. The facility is expected to create jobs and stimulate local economic growth, providing much-needed opportunities for residents. Furthermore, by repurposing an existing landfill, York1 is maximizing the use of existing infrastructure, minimizing the need for new land development.

The Opposition

Despite the potential benefits, the proposal is facing strong opposition from residents of Dresden. Some residents are concerned about the environmental and infrastructural impacts of the facility. They fear that increased truck traffic to and from the site could strain local roads and infrastructure, while the potential for noise pollution from round-the-clock operations is also a source of concern.

Residents are also wary of the project’s impact on the environment, particularly on nearby waterways. Molly’s Creek, a spring-fed stream that flows into the Sydenham River, runs through the property, raising concerns about potential contamination and harm to local wildlife.

The opposition to York1’s proposal highlights a common issue known as NIMBY (Not In My Backyard), where residents oppose developments in their area that could benefit others or the environment. While residents may have legitimate concerns about the project, such as its impact on traffic or noise levels, it is important to consider the broader benefits that the facility could bring.

The site of the proposed facility is an old landfill, meaning that residents have been living near a waste disposal site for years. Transforming this site into a recycling facility has the potential to result in the real improve the local environment and reduce any negative impacts of the old landfill.

Moving Forward

Despite the opposition, York1 remains committed to its proposal and is working to address the concerns raised by residents and local officials. The company has expressed a willingness to work with the municipality and residents to develop a “host community agreement” that addresses their concerns and ensures the project is implemented responsibly.

Operating a recycling facility in Ontario, Canada, such as the one proposed by York1 Waste Solutions, requires adherence to a variety of environmental laws and regulations. The Environmental Protection Act (EPA) is central, covering waste management, air quality, and water protection. Additionally, Ontario Regulation 347 outlines rules for handling hazardous waste, crucial for York1 if they manage hazardous materials. The Ontario Water Resources Act (OWRA) is vital, ensuring York1 doesn’t adversely affect water quality through their operations. They would also need to secure an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) outlining conditions for operation, including waste management and emissions. York1 must adhere to the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR), which promotes public involvement in environmental decision-making.

The project is currently in its early stages, with York1 awaiting approval from the province for permit amendments and expansion of the landfill. The company is optimistic about the project’s potential to not only benefit the environment but also to create a model for sustainable waste management practices in Canada.

York1’s proposal represents a unique opportunity to turn a former landfill into a recycling facility that could benefit both the environment and the local economy. While it is essential to address the concerns of residents, it is also important to consider the broader benefits of the project and the potential for positive change it represents. By working together, York1 and the community of Dresden can create a model for sustainable waste management that serves as a beacon for other communities across the country.


Neighbour’s E-mail Response

Below is a response, via e-mail, from a local resident of Chatham Kent opposed to York1’s proposal.

Please know the article that you published in Advanced Waste solutions written by a staff writer is not entirely factual. As a resident of Chatham Kent I would like to point a few things out to you about this. I am sorry I could not find an email for Advanced Waste solutions to respond to your article.

Some updated facts below in regards to your article.

WHY ARE DRESDEN FOLKS UPSET?

➡️ 1. That the property was NOT A LANDFILL IT WAS USED FOR 95% FLY ASH from an incinerator and was CLOSED APPROXIMATELY OVER 40 YEARS AGO!!!! 

There is around 2-3 acres of fly ash NOT a LANDFILL as YORK1 claims. 

There are many other properties like this across Ontario.  13 others in Chatham-Kent. 

➡️ 2. ERO # 019-8313 The application is for an amendment to the existing waste disposal ECA No. A021304 for an 8-hectare landfill for the disposal of non-hazardous solid construction and demolition waste from industrial, commercial, institutional, and municipal sectors, including excess soil that cannot be beneficially reused (excluding any putrescible waste), from the Town of Dresden, within the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

The application for amendment to the landfill is to allow a maximum fill rate of 1,000 tonnes per day, or 365,000 tonnes annually. At this fill rate, the 8-hectare landfill would reach capacity in 2032, assuming construction of the engineered landfill was completed in 2024. 

CHATHAM-KENT, SARNIA, PETROLIA and DAWN-EUPHEMIA  have  VOTED UNANIMOUSLY AGAINST THIS PROPOSAL AND CHATHAM-KENT ALREADY HAS A  CONTRACT WITH RIDGE LANDFILL!  WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER MEGADUMP IN OUR MUNICIPALITY

So tell me, WHO IS THIS LANDFILL FOR????? NOT CHATHAM-KENT Huge red flag 🚩 GTA needs to deal with their OWN GARBAGE!!  WE ARE NOT YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL!!

YORK1 ALREADY HAS ALLOTTED SPACE AT RIDGE LANDFILL and WATFORD LANDFILL

CHATHAM-KENT produces approximately 55000 tonnes of waste per year, which is contracted to the Ridge landfill.  Where is the 365000 tonnes per year coming from?????

MICHIGAN DOES NOT WANT OUR CANADIAN GARBAGE, they just RAISED FEES SUBSTANTIALLY!!  COMPANIES ARE LOOKING FOR CHEAPER ALTERNATIVES!!

➡️ 3. Why are they still trying to purchase more land???  Possibly they plan to expand after approval???  If they utilize all properties purchased it will become a MEGADUMP, possibly LARGEST IN CANADA.  ALL less than 1km from DRESDEN. The ENTIRE TOWN WITHIN A 3km radius.  The Ministry of the Environment states anyone living within a 3.5km radius of a landfill may have adverse health effects, science says 5km

➡️ 4. AGAIN 👉 NOT A LANDFILL, ONLY USED FOR 95% FLY ASH FROM AN INCINERATOR.  Two to three acres at most!!!

➡️ 5. We ALREADY HOST TWO OF THE LARGEST LANDFILLS IN ONTARIO, RIDGE and WATFORD!!  HOW MANY MEGADUMPS does ONE AREA HAVE TO HOST???? 

AGAIN 👉 WE ARE NOT LIVING beside a landfill like they are stating.  Pictures of the area attached

➡️ 6. WE ARE NOT WILLING HOSTS!!!!  We want clean air, clean water and a healthy environment.  None of which they can guarantee 100%. 

➡️ 7. HOW DOES digging up 2-3 acres of fly ash and bringing in 365000 tonnes of garbage benefit our community????

➡️ YORK1 INSISTS that they DO NOT HAVE TO DO AN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT!!!!  How is it ethical to build a MEGADUMP in an environment that has NEVER HAD AN ASSESSMENT!!  They hold a permit from 1971 that allowed the property owner to bury 95% fly ash, the zoning only allows 95% fly ash.  IF THE 1971 PERMIT CAN BE USED, then the ZONING that went along with it NEEDS TO BE APPLIED TOO.