Local Press Releases

MPP Harris calls on Minister for tools/penalties to support victims of illegal dumping

July 9, 2015

Kitchener – Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris, joined property owners Michelle Shannon and John Weber, Ontario Waste Management Association CEO Rob Cook, Senior Vice President of Safety Kleen Ed Glavina and representatives from Waste Management today to provide an update on issues surrounding the dumping and removal of toxic waste barrels at a Woolwich sugarbush, and call for Ministry support as final soil removal concluded.

“It’s thanks to the good work of the OWMA, Safety Kleen, Aevitas, and Waste Management, that this unfortunate situation was able to be handled and resolved,” said MPP Harris. “However, the fact is that property owners who are victims of illegal dumping, like Michelle Shannon and John Weber, are often further victimized by a system that often points to the property owners’ responsibility for removal.

Soon after 24 barrels of toxic waste were discovered on the Woolwich sugarbush property, Ms. Shannon’s initial calls to a number of government agencies advised the property owner of her responsibility for the barrels’ removal. Harris noted that he was pleased to see discussions with the OWMA led to Breslau firm, Safety Kleen – and subsequently Ayr’s Aevitas, and Waste Management – stepping up to remove the barrels and soil free-of-charge. Shannon and her husband are still left to pick up the tab for the soil testing and expenses around filling the hole back in.

“Look no system will ever be perfect but you want to ensure it works to both prevent future incidents through significant penalties and support victims of illegal dumping so that they are not further victimized,” Harris noted. “Thankfully the private sector thoroughly answered the bell in this case, but I think we have to work moving forward to prevent these situations from occurring in the first place, and being at the ready to respond and support property owners when they do occur.”

Harris sent a letter to the Minister of the Environment this morning calling on the Minister to, review Ms. Shannon’s situation immediately and respond directly as to the penalties [he is] able, and plans, to pursue to levy against the perpetrators, and provide a list detailing Ministry tools and resources available to respond-to and assist victims of illegal toxic waste dumping in Ontario.”