Barrett and Smail encourage public feedback on ED-19
EDWARDSBURGH-CARDINAL - In the next step of the growing concern over the ED-19 waste disposal site discussions, Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Ward 3 Councillor Michael Barrett has moved the issue directly into the home pages of Township residents.
Barrett, dissatisfied with the way both county officials and his fellow council members are addressing public trepidation over the proposed sale of a Byers Road parcel of land for the purpose of creating a perceived "mega-dump", has launched a website and on-line petition where tax-payers can voice their opinion on the need for renewed public consultation on the matter prior to any further discussions with potential buyer Tomlinson Waste Management of Ottawa.
Social media releases from Barrett in late December posed the following question, along with a link directly to the petition.
Did you miss the public meeting on the dump the County wants in Edwardsburgh-Cardinal? Don't be surprised - it was 20 years ago. Now they're planning to close a deal in 90 days. Sign my petition here:
The website and petition movement comes on the heels of a very vocal committee exchange between Councillor Barrett and Edwardsburgh-Cardinal Mayor Pat Sayeau over a motion put forward by Barrett and seconded by Ward 1 Councillor Karie Smail late in 2016. That motion, asking the mayor to request to the County Board that talks with Tomlinson be halted pending further public dialogue, was narrowly defeated after much debate.
Barrett explains that the mindset behind the petition is an extension of the same community unease that he was attempting to represent within council chambers.
"In November a flyer started circulating in the community expressing concern over ED-19," he explains, outlining the chronology of the issue. "As a result, an in-camera meeting with the county CAO and our township council was arranged the next week to bring council in the loop on the negotiations to sell ED-19."
Ever-growing resident unease after the meeting prompted Barrett to take more dedicated action on the sale of the property.
"I presented a motion at the next committee meeting asking the county to hit the pause button and alleviate some concern in the community," Barrett says. "As you might recall from that meeting, the mayor said if the motion passed, he wouldn't be bound by it. So I decided that a petition was the best way to let county council know that there was a real desire for a new public consultation and a formal review of the environmental assessment," he concludes.
Part of Barrett's consternation revolves around the lack of quality response from county officials to the public outcry over the intended waste site.
"The communication from the county is very reactionary on this issue," Barrett states. "Someone flyers mailboxes - they (county council) have a meeting with township council. A petition is started - they (county council) say they'll hold a public meeting. They (county council) put together a fact sheet - but don't send it to anyone. If a concerned citizen delivers flyers into mailboxes with what the county says is false information - shouldn't they send a flyer out to correct the record?"
Fellow councillor Karie Smail reflects Barrett's sentiments regarding the county's reaction to the situation.
"If the information had been presented in a more forthcoming manner, the petitions and negative feedback would be a quarter of what it is," Smail says, "Now residents feel something is being hidden. Not having the chance to ask the questions that they needed answers to is not acceptable. Residents should not have to create a social media frenzy to be noticed. The concerns I'm hearing are on all levels and valid! Concerns ranging from smell to water pollution...and everything in between. I truly hope that when the public meeting takes place they have current up-to-date information for residents and perhaps some concerns can be relieved," she finishes.
In the mean time, Barrett and several others in the municipality will continue to add names to the list of those concerned via means of multiple petitions being circulated throughout the township.
"We have over 250 signatures on the petition, and counting, and the feedback from residents has been tremendously positive," Barrett says, encouraging his constituents to continue to exercise their rights to present their concerns. "I know of a few other folks who are circulating petitions on the subject and I think it's great that they're engaged on this important issue."
As for the method of presentation of the petition?
"At this point a submission date to the warden hasn't been selected," Barrett explains. "Ideally I will present the petition at a regular meeting of county council. I would like to first see when the public meeting will be held."
The Barrett petition can be found at www.dontrushtodump.ca.