Ingersoll area landfill proposal scrapped

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / hroephoto

A controversial plan to convert an old quarry outside Ingersoll into a landfill has been shelved.

The Town of Ingersoll announced late last week that Walker Industries, the company behind the plan, is scrapping its proposal.

“This successfully ends 9 years of community action,” Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey said in a statement released by the municipality. “We worked hard to gain approval rights from the provincial government and then all three municipalities impacted by Walker’s proposal voted against it. We sent a very clear and legally-binding message to Walker.”

A statement emailed to LondonNewsToday.ca from Walker Industries confirmed the news.

“Walker has no further plans to develop the Southwestern Landfill,” the statement said. “For over 40 years, Walker has successfully and safety operated large regional landfills in partnership with municipalities and we will continue to provide resource recovery and waste disposal solutions that help communities safely manage their waste.”

Walker Industries had planned to put a landfill on the property of the Carmeuse Lime quarry. It was to accept 850,000 tonnes of trash each year. Walker Environmental claimed it would bring economic benefits of nearly $350-million over its lifespan. It also said it will provide over 100 jobs each year for 20 years.

But concerns from both local politicians and residents centred on the potential impact on ground water in the area, as well as the number of trucks loaded with garbage travelling on area roads.

Walker’s plan for the landfill had already hit what was essentially a brick wall when the Province of Ontario approved legislation that changed the environmental approval process. The changes meant that the Ministry of Environment would not consider an application for a landfill if the proponent did not have approval from any municipality within 3.5 kilometres of the landfill site. When Zorra Township voted against the proposal, Walker informed the municipality that it was putting the proposal “on hold.” Councils in Ingersoll and South West Oxford Township also voted against the proposal. Oxford County Council, as well as councils in Woodstock and Tillsonburg, voted against in a show of support for the three affected municipalities.

The latest development seems to put an end to a nine year fight for opponents of the landfill in Oxford County, as the release from the Town of Ingersoll says Walker will “focus on other areas of the province.” It added that Carmeuse has confirmed it now has no plans to turn the old quarry into a landfill.

“I thank everyone who worked so hard with me – my fellow members of council, adjoining municipalities and every member of the community that posted a sign or signed a letter,” Comiskey said. “It’s time now to take down the signs and focus on a positive vision of what Ingersoll and out neighbours can next accomplish together.”