Media Release

Northerners Ask Court to Block Approval of Super-Dump

Mar 17 1999

Toronto. A coalition of citizens, farmers and environmentalists in northern Ontario took legal action today to block the provincial government from giving the go-ahead to a controversial garbage dump. The court action came in response to the province having circulated a draft certificate of approval which would allow promoters to turn an abandoned iron ore mine near Kirkland Lake into a super-dump for Toronto garbage.The group has retained a lawyer with the Canadian Environmental Law Association (a legal clinic specializing in environmental law) and today served notice that they are seeking an interim stay that would prevent the certificate from being issued until the group’s main court challenge, which was launched last September, has had its day in court.“We have a case waiting to be heard by the Divisional Court. It’s outrageous to think that the Minister of the Environment would go ahead and issue a certificate of approval before the case has been heard, and before there’s been a decision on whether it is even legal for the certificate to be issued”, explained Joe Muething, an area resident and spokesperson for the Adams Mine Intervention Coalition.The coalition is challenging the decision of a 3 person environmental assessment hearing panel, which last June issued a split decision, with 2 of the 3 agreeing to a conditional approval of a proposal to convert an abandoned iron ore mine into a 20 million tonne garbage dump. Final approval could be granted by a director with the Ministry of the Environment after further testing of the rock below the proposed garbage pit. The third panel member issued a dissenting opinion, citing concerns about the landfill design and the release of leachate.The court case is not expected to be heard until later this year. The Coalition is challenging the Environmental Assessment Board decision on a number of grounds, but a key point of contention is the board’s attempt to hand over the actual decision on whether the dump could go ahead to a senior bureaucrat, who would make the decision based on new information to be provided by the proponent, but without a public review.“We’ve seen the results of the additional tests Notre was ordered to do, and they confirm our previous assessment that the site may leak contaminated leachate into surrounding groundwater,” explained Brennain Lloyd, a spokesperson for Northwatch, one of the coalition members.The coalition’s motion to stay the issuance of the certificate is scheduled to be heard in a Toronto courtroom on April 22, 1999.- 30 -For more information:Joe Muething, Northwatch, 705-544-8254Brennain Lloyd, Northwatch, 705-497-0373Rick Lindgren,Counsel, CELA, 416-960-2284