June 21, 2004

Adams Mine Lake Act

Last week, the government followed up the release of the discussion paper with Third Reading of the Adams Mine Lake Act, 2004, which protects the Adams Lake mine site and other lakes in Ontario from becoming landfill sites.

The legislation, which takes effect immediately after Royal Assent, revokes all existing approvals for the Adams Mine site as a landfill and prevents the site from ever being used for that purpose. It also amends the Environmental Protection Act to prevent the use of other lakes larger than one hectare in size as landfill sites.

The amendment does not apply to a body of water that is less than one hectare in area. Nor does it apply to inert fill in lakes or to the disposal of mine tailings.

The act voids any approvals and permits related to the Adams Mine project issued by the Ministry of Environment prior to the effective date of the legislation, and nullifies any applications for permits under consideration by the Ministry.

Any agreement between the Ministry of Natural Resources and the owner of the Adams Mine for purchase and sale of adjacent Crown land is extinguished by the act, as is any related legal action against the Crown existing up until the effective date of the legislation. Another provision prevents any further legal action being taken against the Crown as a result of the legislation.

The act makes it clear that the Adams Mine property is not being expropriated, requiring the province to pay the owner of the Adams Mine compensation for expenses incurred, i.e. for the purpose of developing the Adams Mine landfill. In addition to acquisition of the Adams Mine site, these include surveys, studies and testing; engineering and design services; legal services; marketing and promotion; property taxes; cost of seeking government approvals; and cost of seeking acquisition of Crown Land.

The fair market value of the site, as of the date of the act's passage, will be deducted from the amount of expenses. Compensation will not be paid for any future profits the owner would have received as a result of operating a landfill at the Adams Mine site.

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