Public awareness and pressure key to stopping Carmeuse Lime proposal in Flamborough

he Flamborough Review has done an excellent job in recent weeks of shedding light on the forthcoming proposal from a company operating near Greensville to burn garbage (to use simple terminology) as an alternative fuel source. In fact, The Review first reported community concern in October.

I’m glad to see that more residents are becoming aware of this issue before the proposal is submitted to the provincial government — expected later this year. The initial virtual meetings held by the company to inform the community were poorly publicized and offered little in the way of public participation.

While this is not an issue that falls under federal jurisdiction, the proposal has the potential to impact our community, air quality and water for which we all share responsibility. I spoke and met with concerned citizens last fall and have been working with them since, supporting efforts to raise awareness and mount public pressure to stop it.

That’s why, together with city councillors Alex Wilson and Ted McMeekin, as well as school board trustee Paul Tut, we provided publicity and logistical support to the Greensville Against Garbage citizens’ group to hold a public meeting of our own. In our view, local residents must be fully informed about this, and that wasn’t happening. Greensville and Flamborough responded with over 400 people attending the citizens-led meeting on March 2. A second public meeting is in the works to reach those who missed it.

Full credit to your neighbours who have spent countless untold hours on this fight, including many with sufficient background and experience to speak to the impact at the scientific level. I readily admit that I’m not a scientist. However, one doesn’t have to be a scientist to know that burning alternative low-carbon fuels, including plastics, tire fluff and unused consumer sanitary products, could bring significant risk.

The key to stopping this proposal lies in public pressure on the provincial Ministry of the Environment, which must approve it. There is precedent for successful citizen action against such proposals, such as in the 1990s, when a group called Greensville Against Serious Pollution (GASP) fought and ultimately stopped a proposed landfill with the help of PC MPP Toni Skarica and then Flamborough mayor McMeekin.

By speaking out loudly and in unison, the community can prevail once again.