September 25, 2006

Toronto council approves plan to purchase Green Lane landfill

Following a closed-door meeting on September 18, Toronto City Council approved a letter of intent to purchase the Green Lane Landfill in southwestern Ontario. City officials have been directed to negotiate the final terms of the sale within 90 days. Financial details related to the sale will be released once the transaction has been completed.

The deal is considered a major component of a long-term strategy for managing Toronto's waste. It will give the city access to a reliable, environmentally sound landfill. In concert with an aggressive diversion plan, the facility will provide new disposal capacity for at least 15 years.

"Owning this site gives Toronto a secure long-term plan for waste disposal and provides Toronto significant control over future disposal costs," Mayor David Miller said. "At the same time," he emphasized that, "the purchase of this landfill will not in any way reduce the City's commitment to our successful waste diversion efforts." Toronto currently diverts more than 40% of its solid waste from landfill and has set a further goal of reaching 60% diversion by 2008.

The purchase will also ensure that Toronto meets its commitment to ending its reliance on Michigan's Carleton Farms landfill by 2010. The current terms of the city's contract with Carlton Farms includes waste shipments until the end of 2010 and Miller said the city intends to abide by its terms.

Toronto has implemented an aggressive waste reduction program, entailing enhanced recycling and other waste diversion efforts. As a result, the city has met its annual projections for fewer waste shipments to Carlton Farms. Shipments reached a peak volume in 2003, with 142 trucks per day travelling to Michigan; this has declined to a present rate of fewer than 85 truckloads of Toronto trash crossing the border daily. The number is expected to continue declining over the next few years.

Miller further noted that an environmental assessment process being undertaken with the assistance of the Community Environmental Assessment Team (CEAT) will continue to determine a comprehensive long-term strategic waste management plan for Toronto.

He also indicated the city's commitment to working with all of the local municipalities in the Green Lane area, local First Nations and the Green Lane Community Trust. "Toronto is committed to being a responsible landfill operator and will work with all stakeholders to continue the long-standing record of good performance and community involvement in matters related to the landfill," he said.

Located southwest of London, Ontario, in Elgin County, the Green Lane landfill has been operating since 1978, under the management of the McCaig family of St Thomas. The McCaigs have been involved in the waste management industry, including collection, disposal and recycling for more than 50 years. Since its establishment, the site has evolved into a full-service solid waste management facility incorporating the latest technology, including on-site treatment of leachate and a methane gas collection system.

Of the site's total area of just under 130 hectares (ha), nearly 44 ha are currently approved for landfilling. In late June, Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten approved the environmental assessment for Green Lane's landfill optimization, allowing expansion of the site subject to a number of conditions specified in the approval document. The conditions address monitoring and annual reporting, inspections, the development of an environmental management system (EMS), the type of waste to be accepted at the facility, watershed diversion, continuation of a public liaison committee and co-operation with First Nations in the region, and implementation of a property value protection plan.

More information is available on the Green Lane landfill Web site, www.greenlaneea.ca.

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