Simcoe County’s waste recovery plant won’t be granted Minister’s Order to proceed

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The County of Simcoe’s Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) project will not be granted a minister’s zoning order from the province, BarrieToday has reported.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark is quoted confirming that no projects currently going through the Local Planning and Appeals Tribunal process are being considered for ministerial orders, including the county’s ERRC project.

Instead, the project’s future will depend on an upcoming Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearing.

In 2010, the county’s Solid Waste Management Strategy (SWMS) recommended development of two major infrastructure projects to support long-term waste management operations.

The Organics Processing Facility (OPF) to provide a location where organics (green bin material including pet waste and potentially materials such as leaf and yard waste and diapers) could be processed locally and converted into other valuable products, such as compost or fertilizer.d

The Materials Management Facility (MMF) to provide a location for consolidation and transfer of waste, recycling, and organics from collection vehicles to larger trucks for more economical shipment to other disposal/processing locations outside the County

The facility would receive the county’s organics and recycling to be broken down into compost, fertilizer or fuel.

Following a rigorous siting process that reviewed about 100 potential sites, it was determined that both facilities and County waste operations would benefit from co-locating both the OPF and MMF on a single, centrally-located site – 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road West, Springwater.

The province approved the county’s request in 2019 and granted an Official Plan amendment to allow the facility in the forest.

Three local groups have appealed the decision to LPAT, opposing the site location in a Simcoe County Forest.

However, the County argues that the Horseshoe Valley site is appropriate for the following reasons:

  • The large site size allows for good buffers to sensitive receptors and other environmental features (only 4.5 ha is required for the footprint on the 84 ha site)
  • The site is well-screened by existing vegetation and topography
  • There is a favourable groundwater and surface water conditions ∙ no net effects to Class 1-3 Agricultural Lands and excellent access to efficient transportation routes to move material (Highway 400, Highway 26, and County Roads 22 and 27)

Since siting, 15 environmental, technical, and engineering studies have been advanced at 2976 Horseshoe Valley Road West. Studies have been reviewed, numerous stakeholder meetings undertaken, and comments addressed from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA), Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH), Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS), County Planning staff, and consultants/staff representing the Township of Springwater.

With funding in jeopardy due to delays, county council approved a motion in April to request a minister’s zoning order from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to expedite the project.

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