December 14, 2008

Global News follow up - Dec 4

On December 4, Global News Special Reporter Christina Stevens discussed developments (or lack thereof) in the Belleville and Oshawa properties owned by Jim Sinclair. The clip, called 'Environmental Charges', is unfortunately no longer available online.

December 3, 2008

Article in the Belleville Intelligencer - Dec 4

Sinclair behind bars
Land developer gets four-month sentence, $690,000 in fines

The Belleville Intelligencer
By Jeremy Ashley
December 3, 2008

Jim Sinclair stood in stunned silence as handcuffs were placed on his wrists Tuesday.

The usually boisterous 67- year-old demolition man turned developer, was sentenced to four months in jail and handed a total of $690,000 in fines for tearing apart sensitive wetlands and allowing a "toxic witch's brew" of chemicals, including PCBs, to seep into the Bay of Quinte during his rogue attempt to redevelop the former Bakelite property.

Sinclair was taken into custody inside a city courtroom following a lengthy sentencing hearing on 14 environmental charges before Justice of the Peace John Doran.

"Rarely has this court ever seen an individual who has singlehandedly, with such a brazen attitude," caused so much environmental destruction, Doran said.

While ignoring warnings and court orders issued by authorities to stop work on the Dundas Street East property, Sinclair forged ahead, ripping up shorelines and wetlands and digging trenches, Doran recounted, reading from testimony from Sinclair's trials.

The actions were meant specifically to drain contaminants from the 75-acre site and into the Bay of Quinte, which would ultimately result in a more profitable piece of development land, Doran said.

"This penalty must deter not only Mr. Sinclair, but anyone ... who would take similar actions."

The sentence brings to close a case that has been before the courts for more than a year: Sinclair and his two companies -- Demolition & Recycling and Thermosets Limited -- were initially found guilty of the offences last February.

Sinclair has yet to complete any of the $230,000 in remedial work ordered as a result of a separate trial involving federal environmental charges at the site.

Crown prosecutor Gerry Herlihy said Sinclair "plowed ahead with plans to redevelop the entire site and began scraping off the sediments and marshlands right down to the bedrock," shortly after he obtained the property in 2003.

Sinclair shifted untold amounts of chemical-laden sediment around, created channels so toxins could drain into the Bay of Quinte and often accosted environmental authorities, Herlihy said.

The PCBs seeping into the waterway "were a result of deliberate, not negligent, actions," he said. "He is the engine who drives this entire story -- he decided what got done and when."

The punishment for such flagrant disregard required "not just jail for a day, not just jail on weekends, but jail for several months and fines in the six-figure range.

"You will rarely see a case with such outright defiance of governmental authorities ... this was an individual who was going to do things his own way."

Defence lawyer Gabrielle Kramer attempted to paint a softer image of her client, presenting several letters on Sinclair's behalf from friends in the Belleville area.

"He is honest, hardworking and capable of extraordinary acts of kindness and generosity," she said, adding he practises meditation, has been married for 40 years and is the father of two.

"There are some who would describe Mr. Sinclair as a charlatan ... that (characterization) is fuelled extensively by the press in the city of Belleville," Kramer charged.

"The Bay of Quinte is not a pristine place," argued the Toronto lawyer and it has a history of PCBs. In this case, there is no specific evidence of impact" on the bay, as a result of Sinclair's actions, she said.

"Mr. Sinclair was a one-man operation attempting to do his best in working to comply with a mountain of orders," issued by environmental authorities who "demonstrated a level of prosecutorial zeal" in targeting her client.

"Although Mr. Sinclair has been vilified by these proceedings ... the evidence shows only minor breaches and little or no effects" on the environment, she said.

But Doran was unmoved by the pleas for leniency and Sinclair was led from the court in handcuffs to immediately begin serving his jail time.

Sinclair seeks release from jail while conviction appealed

(also posted December 3)

Once again, Jim Sinclair will have his day in court.

Come Friday, the owner of the former Bakelite property — who was sentenced to a four-month jail term Tuesday and given $690,000 in fines for environmental infractions relating to the site — will appear in a Belleville courtroom to argue he should walk free while his conviction is appealed.

If granted, it is expected Sinclair would be released from custody immediately until his appeal could be heard by a local judge.

November 22, 2008

Article in Oshawa This Week - Nov 19

Environmental group calls for landfill investigation
Waterkeeper says arsenic, copper, lead found on north Oshawa site

Oshawa This Week
By Jillian Follert
November 19, 2008

OSHAWA -- A local woman has teamed up with Toronto environmental group Lake Ontario Waterkeeper (LOW) to demand an investigation into a decommissioned landfill in north Oshawa.

Oshawa environmentalist Sarah Ross and members of LOW collected samples from the landfill's soil and water over the summer and say lab tests revealed higher than acceptable levels of arsenic, aluminum, lead, chromium, copper and other contaminants.

They believe these toxins are leaching into the soil and into Harmony Creek, which feeds Lake Ontario.

The Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has said any leachate is contained to the site and that the orange "goo" residents have observed on the ground is harmless iron staining -- but Ms. Ross and LOW are not convinced.

"The ministry says it's contained on site but we have seen it running off the property into the creek," said LOW president Mark Mattson. "Whether it's private or public property, that doesn't relieve the MOE of their responsibility to protect the public. We're very concerned about the defensive position the MOE has taken, without even doing an investigation."

When it was operational, the 35-acre landfill accepted solid commercial and industrial waste, primarily from General Motors. A recent report from the MOE indicates about one million tonnes of industrial waste was landfilled on the site between 1957 and 1980.

A 1992 Ontario Municipal Board decision said the liquid waste dumped in the landfill included paint sludge, metal grinding waste, anti-freeze, brake fluid, hydraulic oils and isopropyl alcohol.

Alarmed by the lab results they received, Ms. Ross and LOW recently stepped up their efforts, submitting an application for investigation to Gord Miller, the Province's environmental commissioner.

They are alleging landfill owner Jim Sinclair -- a Mississauga developer who has been convicted of numerous environmental charges -- is contravening the Environmental Protection Act by allowing contaminants with adverse effects to be discharged into the natural environment.

"This leachate is finding its way into a public area where people's kids get dirt on their boots and their dogs drink from the creek," Mr. Mattson said. "This application has been a lot of money and a lot of work for us and we wouldn't make it a priority if we didn't think it was really important."

The application has been referred to MOE, which now has until January to decide if it will investigate.

The landfill, which sits next to Harmony Valley Park, has been the subject of scrutiny since last spring when the snow melted and dog walkers and cyclists began noticing an orange substance staining the ground and leaving an oily sheen atop puddles of water.

Ms. Ross was one of those dog walkers and is also a master's student in environmental studies. The local woman started a crusade to draw attention to the landfill, making presentations to councillors, delving into the site's history and starting a blog on the subject.

Just last week, MOE sent a report to Oshawa councillors, which said the ministry had issued a draft provincial officers order to Mr. Sinclair on Oct. 24, asking that the leachate system be repaired and that fences be erected around the site.

MOE spokeswoman Kate Jordan said Mr. Sinclair is now voluntarily complying and that he has already submitted a remedial action plan outlining steps that will be completed by Nov. 21.

These include repairing the seepage, erecting a fence and a future plan for ground and surface water monitoring.

"We'll review the action plan and make sure it satisfies the work that we want to be done," Ms. Jordan said, adding that the site is not a health threat. "All the monitoring that has been done to date shows no potential for off-site impact. The staining and seepage is all contained on the site."

Repeated efforts to reach Mr. Sinclair were unsuccessful.

"Because we don't think about future generations,
they will never forget us."

- Henrik Tikkanen -

November 14, 2008

Article in Oshawa This Week - Nov 13

Efforts underway to clean up north Oshawa landfill
Oshawa site owned by developer convicted of environmental offences

Oshawa This Week
By Jillian Follert
November 13, 2008

OSHAWA -- Months after residents raised the alarm about "orange goo" seeping from a north Oshawa landfill, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has told the owner to clean up his act.

Jim Sinclair -- a Mississauga developer who has been convicted on numerous environmental charges -- has owned the Oshawa landfill since 2003 but MOE only recently confirmed his association with the site.

The landfill has been front and centre on the minds of north Oshawa residents since the summer, when cyclists and dog walkers wandering over from Harmony Valley Park noticed an orange substance staining the ground.

MOE officials say the rust-coloured streaks are harmless iron staining that pose no threat to human health.

But politicians want more done to guarantee things are safe.

"We want to know that the MOE is being absolutely diligent with their oversight," said Councillor Louise Parkes, who chairs council's development services committee. "We're most concerned with the potential movement of water below ground."

The committee received a report from MOE this week, which says Mr. Sinclair was issued a draft provincial officer's order Oct. 24 requiring him to repair the seepage that has taken place and erect fencing around the site.

MOE spokeswoman Kate Jordan said a draft order precedes an official order.

Normally, an official order would follow, but in this case, the owner is voluntarily complying and has already submitted a remedial action plan outlining steps that will be completed by Nov. 21, she said.

They include repairing the seepage, erecting a fence and creating a future plan for ground and surface water monitoring.

"We'll review the action plan and make sure it satisfies the work we want to be done," Ms. Jordan said, adding the site is not a health threat.

"All the monitoring that has been done to date shows no potential for off-site impact. The staining and seepage is all contained on the site."

The landfill is located near the corner of Harmony Road North and Rossland Road East, with Harmony Valley Park on one side, and a large residential subdivision on the other.

The site was initially owned by Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited (IDOL) and operated as a landfill from 1957 to 1980, when it was sealed.

When it was operational, the 35-acre landfill accepted solid commercial and industrial waste, primarily from General Motors. A recent report from MOE says about one million tonnes of industrial waste was landfilled on the site during those years.

The property was sold in 1999, then sold again in 2003 to current owner Rossland Acres Inc., which lists Jim Sinclair as one of its officers.

Earlier this year, Mr. Sinclair was convicted on several environmental charges related to the development of a former factory site in Belleville.

A court ruling said his work on the site resulted in contaminants seeping into the Bay of Quinte and the destruction of marshlands and other environmentally sensitive areas on the property.

Mr. Sinclair was ordered to pay $235,000 in fines. He has appealed that decision and is still waiting to be sentenced on other convictions.

Repeated efforts to reach Mr. Sinclair were unsuccessful.

The October draft order wasn't the first time the ministry has asked Mr. Sinclair to address issues at the Oshawa landfill.

"Ministry staff have met on site with Mr. Sinclair on several occasions to discuss required work to remediate the seepage and direct it into the on site perimeter leachate collection system," reads the summary councilors received this week. "The company made repairs to the area of seepage in mid-July 2008. During subsequent inspections by ministry staff, iron staining and seepage was again observed."

The development services committee voted to send a letter to MOE, asking that the issue be pursued further.

November 9, 2008

Article in The Toronto Star - Oct 25

Interestingly, this article makes no mention of the landfill at the footstep of these homes.

A concerned resident who informed me of this article, wrote the following...
"These unwitting Delta Rae customers have no idea what they're getting into judging by the tone of this article which pitches a beautiful development perched on top of a dump and some nice orange leachate.

Someone better sound the alarm with the city councillors before unsuspecting customers get caught up in a mess at this site.

How can the city of Oshawa approve a "residential" development on this site with all the serious issues here? Issues that you documented so well over the past year.

If someone is forced to clean it all up first and fully remediate the land, this would be a good news story. But something tells me the developer has no such intentions. The leachate is just one of the reasons why every single potential project on this land over the past decade has been aborted, including houses and plazas. Every potential development was scrapped here."

Upscale townhouses close to wealth of amenities
Project in established neighbourhood aimed at first-time buyers, empty nester market

The Toronto Star
By Tracey Hanes
October 25, 2008

Buyers at the new Harmony Valley townhouse development will reap the advantages of living in an established area, while enjoying the intimacy of a small crescent backing onto green space.

The Harmony Valley project at Rossland Rd. and Grandview St. will consist of 67 townhouses, close to a wealth of amenities and big box stores and within walking distance of the Harmony Valley Conservation Area. The new Legends Sports Complex and a Cineplex are also nearby.

The units will be built to Energy Star standard to offer savings on home energy bills.

The townhouses are freehold, but will have a monthly condo fee to cover maintenance of common elements and provide snow removal on interior roads and door-to-door garage pickup.

"These are upscale townhouses, all brick, with nine-foot main floor ceilings, which aren't that common in products for first-time buyers," says Carmen Calabrese, owner of Delta-Rae. "We are also aiming for the empty-nester market."

Calabrese understands how to cater to the upscale market; Delta-Rae's recently completed Cochrane Estates in Whitby offered large estate homes priced at $1 million-plus.

The Harmony Valley floor plans range from 1,200 square feet to 2,389 square feet, starting from $229,990. The units of 1,683 square feet or more will include a finished basement as part of the package. Many of the models have walkouts.

"Some units will have nice big basement rec rooms with walkouts to lots backing onto a treed area that will never be built on," Calabrese says.

All townhouses are two-storey, three-bedroom, with single car garage and a choice of all brick or stucco and brick elevations. Three appliances are included and ceramic tile flooring is standard in the kitchen, bathrooms and foyer, with carpet throughout the remainder of the house. Hardwood flooring is available as an upgrade.

North Oshawa is a hotbed of growth and offers easy access to Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Lakeridge Health Centre, GO service and Highway 401.

Calabrese's Delta-Rae Homes has been an award-winning builder in Durham Region for almost 20 years.

Visit the sales office on Grandview St. N. at Rossland Rd., call 289-240-5410 or click on Hours are Monday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays closed; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


More information on the Delta-Rae Harmony development can be found on their website, I have copied the site plan and neighbourhood map below. Interesting that they mark the landfill as the Harmony Valley Conservation Area! (see for more detailed amenity map)

October 23, 2008

MOE's "Former IDOL Landfill Summary" to the City - Nov 10; Article in the Belleville Intelligencer - Oct 23

Phil Dunn from the Ministry of Environment (MOE) sent correspondence to the Development Services Committee for their November 10, 2008 meeting. The summary of the presentation regarding the history of the site, monitoring, and recent visits to the site with Jim Sinclair can be found online at This summary is copied below:

Former Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Landfill

The Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Landfill (IDOL) site is located in east section of Lot 3, Concessions 2 and 3, in the City of Oshawa. The landfill site is located in the north half of the property. The site is bounded on the south and east by the Harmony Valley Conservation Area (Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority - CLOCA). The properties to the north and west of the site have been developed for residential use. The site is fenced on the north and west sides of the site. The site is not fenced on the south or east. This permits unauthorized access from residents visiting the Harmony Valley Conservation Area which is adjacent to the east border of the site.

Industrial Disposal sold the site to Philip Services Inc. in 1999. In December 2003 the property was sold again to the current owner Rossland Acres Inc. Mr. Jim Sinclair is an officer of the company.

The original certificate of approval was issued to Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited to landfill approximately 14 hectares of the north section of the site. Approximately 1,000,000 tonnes of industrial waste was landfilled in the site between 1957 and 1980 over 9 hectares of the site before it closed. The primary sources of waste received at this site were from General Motors operations in Oshawa. The property was used as a former sand and gravel pit.

In 1979, an amended Certificate of Approval was issued to Industrial Disposal and restricted waste types and quantities, included significant changes to the leachate control system, installation of gas control and the submission of a closure plan. Additionally, ground and surface water monitoring requirements were imposed.

The leachate collection tile drains were initially installed along the east and south perimeter of the site. The leachate collection system was discharged into a lagoon located in the southwest corner of the site. The system was connected to the sanitary sewer in 1980. In 1986, the system was extended along the west side of the site.

The gas control system at the site currently consists of six passive gas vents located on top of the site. Historically, landfill gas monitoring has not identified significant potential for off-site impacts.

Buffer zones have been established adjacent to the landfill site property to the north and west. The buffer zones are a requirement of the Plan of Subdivision for adjacent residential areas. The development plans for the residential area to the west of the site require the monitoring of landfill gas and groundwater along the west buffer zone. The City of Oshawa conducted monitoring on the west side of the landfill in 2005. The ministry has not been notified of any concerns regarding groundwater contamination or gas migration from the landfill. The next scheduled monitoring by the City of Oshawa is to occur in 2010.

In 1985 an amended Certificate was issued to formalize the closure of the site and did not contain conditions that required ongoing monitoring of groundwater or surface water.

The most recent assessments of site hydrology, landfill gas, ground and surface water quality are contained in reports from 2001 and 2002 prepared by the adjacent property owner to assess the potential for off-site impacts to proposed residential development. The reports do not identify the potential for significant impacts to residential properties located to the north or west.

The ministry is aware of the onsite iron staining from the seepage in the south section of the site. Ministry staff have met onsite with Mr. Sinclair on several occasions to discuss required work to remediate the seepage and direct it into the onsite perimeter leachate collection system.

The company made repairs to the area of seepage in mid-July 2008. During subsequent inspections by ministry staff iron staining and seepage was again observed.

On October 24, ministry staff again attended the site with Mr. Sinclair and his consultant. A draft Provincial Officers Order was provided to Mr. Sinclair that outlined requirements to repair the seepage and erect fencing to restrict unauthorized access onto the site. The company also committed to prepare a plan for the site that will include ground and surface water monitoring.

The above summary was discussed at this DSC meeting, with a motion carried requesting further investigation and implementation of a more aggressive remedial action plan. Copied below, these can be found on page 14 of the minutes here:

DS-08-489 Phil Dunn, Ministry of Environment - Summary of Former Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Landfill

The Committee reviewed Correspondence DS-08-389 from Phillip Dunn, Ministry of environment, providing a summary of the former Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Landfill.

The Committee questioned the Commissioner, Development Services.

Moved by Councillor Nicholson,

"1. That a letter be sent to Phillip Dunn and Sandra Thomas, Acting District Supervisor, Ministry of Environment, stating that the City of Oshawa finds the summary regarging the former Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) landfill unacceptable and requests that further investigation be conducted and that a more aggressive remedial plan be implemented to prevent further contamination; and

2. That staff of the Development Services Department continue to monitor the situation and report back when appropriate." CARRIED.

At this meeting, the 'Status of IDOL Investigation' was listed as an Item for Discussion, but such discussion could not be found in the minutes.

The Global News story is already creating a stir!

Jim Sinclair will be sentenced on November 18 for 14 environmental charges relating to a property he owns in Belleville.
Jim Sinclair linked to controversial Oshawa property

Global News in city to hunt down infamous developer
A city developer convicted of thumbing his nose at environmental laws while ripping apart the former Bakelite plant has been connected to a controversial property in the Oshawa area.

The Belleville Intelligencer
Posted by Jeremy Ashley
Updated on October 23

A two-part Global News investigation — the second segment which aired Tuesday night — revealed a decommissioned landfill in Oshawa, just footsteps away from a popular conservation area, is owned by Jim Sinclair.

Earlier this year, Sinclair was convicted on a number of federal and provincial environmental charges for forging ahead with development at the contaminated site of the former resins factory on Dundas Street East — moves that the courts determined led to PCPs and a host of other contaminants seeping into the Bay of Quinte.

In addition, marshlands and other sensitive areas of the 90-acre property were torn apart.

Sinclair, who has since appealed the decision, was ordered to fork over $235,000 in fines. He has yet to be sentenced on the bulk of the other convictions.

Tuesday, a Global news team tried to confront Sinclair after uncovering he owns a 35-acre parcel of land in the heart of Oshawa that accepted industrial waste from General Motors for almost three decades.

But the team, led by reporter Christina Stevens and cameraman Craig Berry, came up empty-handed in their search for the developer.

In addition to visiting several locations in the city Sinclair has been known to frequent, the pair attempted to call him by cellphone while standing at the front gates of the former Bakelite property.

“It’s frustrating, to say the least,” Stevens muttered after approaching the fence line along Dundas street and hollering at a ramshackle house trailer on the site in an attempt to draw Sinclair out.

Despite his vehicle being parked outside his portable home of several years, Sinclair’s six-foot-three figure didn’t appear in the doorway.

“We just want some answers, that’s all,” Stevens added.

Back in Toronto, Global producer Neil McArtney echoed Stevens’ frustration after learning of Sinclair’s no-show.

“We were really hoping that he would be able to shed light on this (Oshawa) property for us.”

Located at the corner of Harmony Road North and Rossland Road East in Oshawa, the site — which is mostly overgrown with brush and grass — is bordered by new residential development and a conservation area.

For years, some residents have been concerned about leachate seeping off the site, despite assurances from the Ministry of Environment that proper testing has shown a minimal environmental impact.

However, in recent months, McArtney, who lives in Oshawa, said there have been renewed calls for an environmental investigation into the “orange goo” that has been seeping off the site and into a nearby creek.

“It was in my own backyard, so I really took an interest to it,” he said.

Over the past year, samples collected privately on behalf of a non-profit environmental watchdog group found contaminants in the water and soil on the site “four to 10 times higher than it should be,” he said.

When he began digging into the story, “I quickly found out the property was owned by a Mr. Jim Sinclair,” McArtney said, “and how this guy has really been in trouble with the environment in your (Belleville) area.”

Reading through past Intelligencer stories about Sinclair’s exploits — and subsequent justice proceedings — brought a new level of significance to the story, he said.

“What concerns me now is ... what’s he going to do with this property? Is he all of a sudden going to come in and start digging it up with tractors like he did in Belleville?

“The whole point of doing this story was to make the residents of this community aware that this is in their back yard. There are serious red flags happening here and people need to be aware of the potential dangers.

“In that sense, I’m not a television producer just doing a story — I’m doing it as a husband and a father who is a part of this community.”

For his part, Sinclair was no where to be seen or heard from throughout the day Tuesday. Repeated calls to his home phone number and business line went unanswered.

October 20, 2008

Global News coverage - Oct 20-21

On October 20 and 21, Global News Ontario aired a 2-part Special Report on the Harmony landfill and actions being taken.

I was told by several people that Global showed small clips of the story during regular programs on the channel from October 17-20 (like a 'preview' for the Monday night news), which is awesome!

The newscasts were very impressive, and were available online at The title of the first clip was Toxic Landfill; The title of the second clip was Environmental Impact. Unfortunately, they are no longer available online.

October 16, 2008

Landfills, Leachate and Law - A radio show by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper - Oct 16

The Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a grassroots organization in Toronto working to protect Lake Ontario, have featured the Harmony landfill on their weekly radio show. The show titled Landfills, Leachate and Law: Harmony Landfill and Beyond was released on October 16, 2008.

It is briefly described as:
This week, Mark and Krystyn discuss the hidden dangers of landfills and the runoff that pollutes our drinking water. We also take an in depth look at one Oshawa citizen trying to pull back the layers and expose a favorite dog park for what it really is: a 40-year old landfill.

It begins with a very interesting discussion of the nature of landfills and the involvement of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper with leaching landfills across the province. Towards the end I am interviewed about my work on the Harmony landfill. It ends with a discussion of filing an Application for Investigation - a joint application I have been working on with LOW for the past month or so.

I encourage you to listen. The show is available online as a Podcast at

Archived episodes of Living at the Barricades, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's weekly discussion focusing on various environmental issues, are available at

September 30, 2008

New pictures

It is amazing how much worse the site gets after it rains. Although the red colour has been there pretty well all summer, these pictures (taken today after it rained all morning) show pools of water with an oily sheen on top. Yesterday there were very small areas that looked oily, but no water at all. This area needs to be tested to ensure this oily substance and other materials do not pose a threat.

No feedback from the local or provincial levels to update you on...things seem to be moving very slowly. I am continuing to raise awareness of this landfill and my concerns, but I think there needs to be (a) greater pressure involved in order for action to be taken, and (b) higher government levels involved.
Facing south at the leachate area, overlooking the wetland:

Facing north at the hill towards the wetland, showing the leachate running downhill and the landfill in the background:

A dog's paw print in the rust-coloured soil at the leachate area:

The following pictures show the area where water seems to be flowing from the ground:

Facing east:

Facing west:

The following pictures try to capture the oily sheen on top of the pools of water:

September 9, 2008

Development Services Comittee meeting - Sept 8

A Development Services Committee meeting was held on September 8, 2008.

Update on Investigation into IDOL landfill site (Ward 5)

This matter was previously discussed at the Development Services Committee held on June 9, 2008 when Correspondence DS-08-238 from Sarah Ross concerning leachate at the Harmony Creek Landfill was referred to staff to obtain an update from the MOE and to work with other agencies, including CLOCA, and to report back to Committee.

The Commissioner of Development Services provided Committee with a verbal update concerning the IDOL site advising Committee that the Ministry of the Environment recommends that the site be fenced off. The Commissioner of Development Services advised that a follow-up report will be forthcoming.

The Committee requested that staff advise Sarah Ross of the steps that are being taken.

How has learning about this dump site/leachate affected YOU?

I would like to hear your thoughts - any thoughts - about how hearing about this issue has affected you. The good, the bad and the ugly!

Has learning about the landfill changed the way you view/use Harmony Valley Park and the surrounding area?

Are you concerned about what is inside this industrial waste dump?

Has the discovery of high heavy levels changed your habits? Made you concerned at all?

Should something be done about this site?

Are there questions you want answered?

Please e-mail me at with any comments or thoughts. Your feedback will remain completely anonymous, and I will not post them on the blog. I am trying to gauge how learning about this landfill has affected how the public feels about the area -- that's you!

August 19, 2008

Video Clips

These small video clips, which I took July 27 give an indication of the extent of change to the soil and pools of water that were found. Half a month later, it still looks the same.

The first clip is walking east along the path at the south side of the landfill towards the leachate area, panning around the leachate area.

The second clip shows a close up of the oily sheen on the surface of the water at the leachate location, and the water visibly flowing over the steep cliff to the south, where it flows towards Harmony Creek (and Lake Ontario).

August 17, 2008

Sample results are in - and do not look good

The following samples were taken at the leachate location during multiple visits and were graciously paid for by the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a grassroots environmental group in Toronto. The show levels of heavy metals at the landfill in the soil in June and July. (Click on the image for a larger view)

Looking at this data in comparison to provincial and federal water quality guidelines, some of the levels seem very high – I have bolded the contaminants which are over the guidelines and listed in the last column how many times are exceed the limit. For example, Cadmium – a known carcinogen found in some industrial paints and manufacture of some batteries. – exceeds the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life limit of 0.017 ug/L by 88 times.

While the levels of some of these contaminants in water are very concerning, comparing the soil samples has been more difficult and I am currently seeking people knowledgeable in this area to help understand this data. More samples were taken recently at the landfill and following the wetland to the outlet in order to assess whether the wetland (to the south of the landfill) is filtering out these contaminants. Below are some pictures from the most recent sampling I performed.

Now that there is data backing up the threat of this landfill to humans and the environment – and more pending – there is greater evidence to demand action. Government and City officials do not seem to care enough to bother, and it seems a greater profile needs to be raised. It is time to get the community involved, and I am taking steps towards this. Please contact me at if you know anything about the history of this site or are interested in getting involved in any regard.

July 27, 2008

Absolute Chaos

I thought that with all the heavy rains Oshawa has been receiving lately, that perhaps the rusty substance would have returned to the surface of the site. I was absolutely blown away because the site is almost unrecognizable!
Yes, there has been a lot of rain, but I highly doubt they could have caused this much change. All of the vegetation that had grown over much of the area is no longer there and both monitoring stations have vanished - leaving nothing but dirt, gravel and pools of rusty and oily water.This looks like the work of something - or someone.

The former locations of the white and blue monitoring stations can be seen in these pictures.

The rusty coloured substance can be seen flowing all the way down the path, almost to the manhole cover on the south-west side of the property.

Most concerning of all is the oily sheen on the top of numerous areas of water. It is very evident and shows up well in the pictures below, which were taken in various areas. In the last picture, the surface water was carrying this substance down the steep drop to the south of the landfill towards the river. Whatever it is, this substance is clearly being carried into the adjacent creek.

This picture was taken facing east with the old leachate area in the foreground and an overview of where the water is currently flowing. (click on the picture for a larger image)

Something needs to be done immediately to determine that whatever this oily substance is does not pose a threat to the health of humans and species in the nearby creek! If this site were merely 'iron staining', what is this oily substance doing along with it? Is it coming from the landfill? What is it composed of? Whatever it is, it should not be permitted to flow into the environment without monitoring to ensure it is safe.

A sales centre has recently been built on the corner of Grandview Street and Rossland Street. The last picture is full of irony with the sales centre in the foreground advertising "These woods were make for walking" and the landfill in the background. Not to mention the subdivision adjacent to it.

June 25, 2008

Development Services Committee meeting - June 9

I have copied the minutes from the Development Services Committee meeting I attended on June 9th. I was assured that I would be informed as soon as the City received news, but have not yet heard anything. An e-mail sent June 10th to two employees at the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority regarding where, when and what kind of monitoring will be performed by them at the landfill received no reply. So right now I am in a waiting game, but am not giving up!

Development Services Committee Minutes - June 9, 2008
(Available on the City of Oshawa's website)

Sarah Ross – Requesting to Address Committee Regarding Leachate at Harmony Creek Landfill (All Wards)

The Committee reviewed Correspondence DS-08-238 dated June 4, 2008 from Sarah Ross expressing concern about the leachate at the Harmony Creek landfill.

Sarah Ross addressed Committee regarding her concerns about the leachate and possible heavy metals at the Harmony Creek Landfill advising that she has contacted the local conservation authorities and the Ministry of Environment regarding this issue and has been advised that there has been no monitoring of this location since the early 1990’s. Sarah Ross noted that the trails are widely used by the public and should be investigated to ensure public health and safety.

The Committee questioned the delegation.

The Committee questioned the Commissioner of Development Services.

Moved by Councillor Nicholson,
"That Correspondence DS-08-238 dated June 4, 2008 from Sarah Ross expressing concern about the leachate at the Harmony Creek Landfill be referred to staff to obtain an update from the Ministry of Environment and to work with other agencies, including the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, and to report back to Committee and that Ms. Ross be advised of the results." CARRIED

June 16, 2008

More visuals

Unfortunately I do not have a whole lot to report. Some time in the last little while, one of the monitoring stations near the leachate has been tampered with. By the looks of it, the hinges were taken apart because the lock is still in place and secure.

Walking to the South East of the landfill, I noticed an oily sheen on the surface of a small pool of water. It was hard to capture on camera, but definitely visible to the eye. This area is located adjacent to the landfill and approximately 100 metres north of Harmony Creek, with clear erosion from the flow of water during high run-off. A small river can bee seen flowing near this pool along the side of the path into the Creek.

June 13, 2008

"Not the right time to sell"

It turns out the sale of the property I posted yesterday has been terminated.

I spoke to the real estate agent to see if I could see the Landfill Summary Report from 2002, however he told me the owner is taking it off the market, and that the owner said it "isn't the right time for it to be up for sale".

Unfortunately, the owner took back all the documents, so the agent did not have them any more. However, the Landfill Summary Report must be in the hands of another person. I will continue in my search to uncover more information on the landfill site.

June 12, 2008

Vacant land(fill) for sale!

I have discovered that a rectangular piece of vacant land has been listed for sale at the corner of Rossland and Grandview - keep reading, it gets better! This encompasses 20 acres of the Harmony Creek landfill and 50 acres to the south. This is pretty shocking stuff, because I am fairly certain that this area encompasses the leachate area!

Real Estate Type: Vacant Land
Land Size: 70.00 Acre
Location: Rossland Rd, Oshawa, ON
Price: $4,900,000

The "General Description" in the listing spells out the details of the landfill:
This 70 Acre Rectangular-Shaped Parcel Of Land Is Dissected North From South Into 2 Portions By The Future Rossland Road Eextension. There Is An Approximate 20 Acre Former Landfill Footprint In The North-Western Portion Of The Lot. No Landifll Waste Was Deposited Since June 30, 1980. The Approximate Southern 50 Acre Portion Is Undeveloped Land With Some Groundwater Flow To Harmony Creek. This Property Is Surrounded By Many Large Modern Subdivision Homes.**** EXTRAS **** There Was A Certificate Of Approval To Operate An Industrial Landfill On The 20 Acre Site. Listing Broker Has A May 2003 Rossland Road Environmental Assessment Report And A 2002 Landfill Site Summary Report.

Who would want to buy this property I have no idea, but but chances are it would be for development. I am thinking this 2002 Landfill Site Summary Report must be publically accessible so I will try to track it down.

The picture listed with the property faces East at the intersection of Rossland Road and Grandview Street, where many people park their car and walk along the South side of the landfill. The lecahate is literally a 1 minute walk east from here - if that.

June 9, 2008

Steps forward

This afternoon I attended the Development Services Committee meeting at City Hall to give a short presentation on my concerns at the landfill. It was very well received, and I am pleased with the response that action needs to take place to determine what is going on at the site.

There seems to be a growing consensus that despite claims by the Ministry of the Environment, steps need to be taken to ensure the landfill is not leaching and posing a risk to the health of humans and the environment. And steps are beginning to be taken. The City, local Conservation Authority, and a Toronto-based environmental group are now on board and willing to dig for information and perform sampling. This is all very good news!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead -

June 3, 2008

The investigation continues!

In my last conversation with the MOE, I was (again) told that there is nothing to be concerned about. Reports from 1982, 1993 and other various documents (protocols, maps, reports) were located at the MOE office in Ajax, but I am required to go there to view them.

The history and lack of concern over monitoring at the site remains bothersome to me. In my conversation with the Conservation Authority, they had very little information on the site and did not receive reports from the monitoring stations at this landfill. The Certificate of Approval for the site (reissued in 1985) did not require monitoring under the reasoning that it was not determined to be a large risk because of monitoring in the past. I was told that over time, leachates become weaker and less, and this is supported by monitoring from the mid-1990’s indicating no significant impacts. Even if the sampling from the site revealed no concern and was considered a low-moderate risk up to the 1990’s, could not the situation be changed over time? To me, the history of the site, and the lack of regulations for waste disposal back the in 1950’s to 1970’s, could pose a potential threat to the environment. See this record from 1976 found online, discussing imposed conditions over such issues as leachate overflow and disposal.

Cited as:
Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Co. v. Ontario (Ministry of Environment)

IN THE MATTER OF sections 77, 78 and 80 of The Environmental
Protection Act, 1971, as amended
AND IN THE MATTER OF a Ministry of the Environment Provisional
Certificate of Approval for a Waste Disposal Site located on
Part of Lot 3, Concession 3, City of Oshawa (former Township
of East Whitby), being Provisional Certificate No. 390102,
dated the 15th day of August, 1975 and issued to Industrial
Disposal (Oshawa) Company, P.O. Box 70, Hamilton, Ontario
AND IN THE MATTER OF an appeal dated the 8th day of September,
1975, by Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Company from the
conditions imposed by issuing the said Provisional Certificate
AND IN THE MATTER OF a hearing held by the Environmental
Appeal Board on March 3, 1976, May 5, 1976 and June 9, 1976

[1976] O.E.A.B. No. 10
Ontario Environmental Appeal Board
I.W. Pasternak, Q.C., Chairman
L.C. DeGroot and G.W. Ozburn, Members
Heard: March 3, May 5 and June 9, 1976
Decision: July 5, 1976
(2 pp.)
No counsel mentioned.

Upon motion made to this Board by the appellant for an adjournment of the hearing
regarding this appeal, and with the consent of the parties present, this Board hereby
orders that the hearing is adjourned until the 7th day of October, 1976 at 10:00 o'clock in the morning (local time) in the Canadian Legion Hall, V.I.P. Room, 471 Simcoe Street S., Oshawa, Ontario.

In granting this adjournment, the Board imposed the following conditions upon the

1. The appellant is to reconnect the pipeline to recirculate leachate to the bermed area on top of the site so as to prevent any leachate overflow. This action to be completed by June 18, 1976.
2. The appellant is to cover the present disposal area to the south including the slopes with two feet of compacted earth. This action to be completed by June 30, 1976
3. The appellant is to move the disposal area to the top of the site and restrict same to a minimal area. The area is to be prepared and flattened beforehand. Disposal to be commenced by June 18, 1976.
4. The appellant is to cover the new disposal area on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays by 5:00 p.m. This action to commence by June 18, 1976.
5. The appellant is to unblock the drainage ditch on the west side of the site by June 30, 1976 and keep the ditch clear.
6. The appellant is to grade the slopes to the west and east and cover them with two feet of compacted earth. This action to be completed by August 31, 1976.
7. The appellant is to provide the Ministry of the Environment and the City of Oshawa with a copy of the hydrogeological study of the site by September 7, 1976.
8. Upon notice to this Board by the Ministry of the Environment that the above conditions have not been met, the hearing shall be resumed at the earliest opportunity.

I am happy to see the rate at which the article from Oshawa This Week has spread around the internet. My letter to the editor was published online yesterday on the paper's website, and I am hoping it will appear in the printed version on Wednesday because it is currently buried in under 'Other Letters'. I have copied it below:

More monitoring needed on Harmony Creek landfill site

Oshawa This Week online
By Sarah Ross
June 2, 2008

To the editor:
Re: 'Orange goo' worries residents, May 30.

I appreciate you bringing the issue of leachate at the Harmony Creek landfill site forward. In addition to the rust colour, in April I also noticed an oily sheen on the surface of the leachate. Given that industrial products were buried here, I am concerned about the possible presence of other toxic compounds (phenols, heavy metals).

Monitoring is apparently taking place by developers on a five-year basis on the west side of the landfill. This seems to be the only monitoring being done. But from an environmental perspective, that area is not the concern -- drainage and the visible leaching is to the south and east towards Harmony Creek.

I was informed there was limited monitoring in this area until the early 1990s -- this is not "periodical."

As indicated by Prof. Warith (Oshawa This Week on-line article May 30), leaching rates are highly variable depending on the season, rainfall, etc. Also, over time, they can increase. This suggests citizens require the results from a systematic and targeted monitoring program before we can be assured there are no concerns from this site.

I am continuing to seek answers and will update progress at If others are interested in helping me or have information, I can be contacted at

June 2, 2008

Landfill maps and land use change

I have attached satellite maps of the landfill area below - based on my own guess, so the boundaries may not be 100% correct (courtesy of Google Maps). It is difficult for me to exactly show where the monitoring stations are. You may click on the image for a larger version.

The four images below show changes in land use over time (click on the image for a larger version). The 1948, 1978 and 2005 images are taken from the Harmony Valley Park Master Plan, and the 2008 image is courtesy of Google Maps. The activity in the 1978 air photo is particularly interesting!

May 30, 2008

Article in Oshawa This Week - May 30

How exciting! The issue made it on the front page of Oshawa This Week in today's paper, and the 'breaking news' section on its website! This means the word will be spread to many more residents, and who knows where it will go from there. The article is very well written and has many opinions which is great. I have copied it below:

‘Orange goo’ trickling from old landfill

MOE says iron staining common, harmless

Oshawa This Week
By Jillian Follert
Friday May 30, 2008

OSHAWA -- Sarah Ross likes to walk her dog near Harmony Valley Park, but lately the Oshawa resident has been more cautious, after noticing an unusual rust-coloured substance staining the ground.

The liquid is oozing from the side of a seemingly inconspicuous hill, which is actually a decommissioned landfill site.

"I'm really concerned about what it is and whether any monitoring is going on," said Ms. Ross, a master's student in environmental studies. "A lot of people probably don't even realize there's a landfill there because it just looks like a hill. They're walking their dogs in the area and they should know whether there are any risks."

Brent Frew, who recently moved into the nearby neighbourhood, is also concerned.

"It looks like orange goo; it's kind of disgusting," he said. "It's the kind of thing that makes you wonder if it's OK for you to walk around there with your kids."

The landfill sits near the corner of Harmony Road North and Rossland Road East, with Harmony Valley Park on one side and a large residential subdivision on the other.

The site was formerly owned by Industrial Disposal Oshawa Limited (IDOL), and operated as a landfill from 1957 to 1980, when it was sealed.

When it was operational, the 35-acre landfill accepted solid commercial and industrial waste, primarily from General Motors.

The site is now owned by an unknown private operator.

Over the years, the landfill's presence has raised concerns.

Coscan Development Corporation -- which owned three pieces of land near the landfill -- asked the City in the 1990s for a zoning amendment to build a commercial strip and two residential developments near the site.

The City refused, saying the landfill posed too large an environmental threat to allow residential development so close by.

The decision was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which eventually sided with the developer after hearing from a slew of expert witnesses.

In its 1995 decision, the OMB notes IDOL made it difficult to assess the environmental risks because it refused access to the land. However, it also indicates that over the years, IDOL had followed all orders from the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) such as the installation of a subsurface leachate collection system and the placement of a two-foot-thick cover over the site.

Leachate is a quantity of liquid that has worked through a solid and leached out some of its substance.

In its ruling, the board calls the concerns expressed by the City and its consultants "cautious in the extreme," and said development should be allowed as long as certain precautions were taken.

Those included:

- requiring the developer to perform monitoring for leachate presence and migration every five years starting in 2000;

- a two-metre high fence around the landfill site to keep pedestrians out;

- requiring the developer to give the City a $30,000 letter of credit to be used in the event it didn't comply with the monitoring or remedial work ordered by the MOE.

Phil Dunn, a MOE senior environmental officer, said the ministry inspects the site periodically and the developer and private owner continue to conduct their own monitoring.

Mr. Dunn said there are no concerns at this time and that the mysterious rust-coloured liquid spotted by residents is "iron staining," which is not uncommon in older landfills.

As precipitation in the form of rain and snow percolates through the landfill matter, it picks up matter from the waste inside and carries it outside. This is called leachate and when it oxidizes and dries, the iron component can leave an orange stain.

Mr. Dunn stressed it is not cause for concern.

"We have monitoring information that indicates the impact to the ground and surface water is very minimal," he said. "And it wouldn't pose any risk to anyone walking on the site."

Mostafa Warith, a professor in the civil engineering department at Ryerson University, has spent the past 25 years studying landfills around the world.

He said it is impossible to prevent leachate from occurring at a landfill because there will always be rain, snow, groundwater and liquid in the waste itself.

The level of risk depends entirely on the contents of the leachate, which can range from organics to heavy metals depending on they type of waste in the landfill, he said.

"Leachate is a contaminated liquid," he said. "If it gets out, it will end up somewhere -- in the groundwater, in the creeks and streams. That's why proper monitoring is needed."

The professor couldn't comment on the north Oshawa site specifically but said if iron staining is occurring in large amounts, it could indicate leachate is not being properly collected or redirected.

He said there are many new engineering tools available to ensure leachate doesn't pose an environmental threat but said in a private site like this, it would be up to the operator to pursue those unless MOE issued an order.

Ward 6 Regional Councillor April Cullen is familiar with the site and sent flyers to homeowners in the nearby subdivision years ago to let them know there are no known environmental concerns.

"I was actually looking into buying a house in that subdivision at one point and I would never have done that if I thought there was anything to worry about," she said. "If there was any concern at all, we would be notified and I would make sure we took action."

Coun. Cullen said that while the site isn't dangerous, it also isn't intended for people to walk their dogs or take their kids for a stroll -- that's what the adjacent Harmony Valley Park is for.

Residents who are new to the city or the neighbourhood might not know that it's a landfill, especially because the fencing around it is constantly being ripped down, she said.

May 13, 2008

Current state of affairs

Last week, I talked to an employee from the Ministry of the Environment who has visited this site in the past and knows some of its history. He told me he thought the leachate area was iron staining from groundwater seepage, but two associates that have visited the site with be believe it is leachate from the landfill. I called him back and asked for old monitoring records, which he said he could probably locate for me.

Today (May 13) I sent a letter and photos to the Ministry of the Environment and copied the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. This outlined my concerns, why I think there is an issue with leaching at the site and I included 3 pictures I took in April. The same day, I received a response from the MOE person I have been in discussion with saying this is something he:
- hasn't seen this at the site at this location before
- will definitely follow up on it
- will be contacting the owner of the property
- will keep me up to date on what happens

So I will wait and see, and call him back in a week to see if he has
a) established contact with the landowner, and
b) found the old monitoring records I requested

May 6, 2008

An ongoing history...

Information to the public on the internet is scarce, but I continue to call and inquire with people at various organizations, departments and agencies.

From what I have gathered so far:
- Printed sources of Native history specific to the Black/Harmony/Farewell Creek area are limited, yet there is some indication that Native peoples occupied this watershed. In 1993, an archaeological excavation was conducted to uncover the remains of an early Late Iroquoian village, called the Grandview site. The Grandview site was located southwest from the Taunton community on Lot 3, Concession 3 in Oshawa. (Source: Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority. 2009. Black/Harmony/Farewell Creek Watershed Existing Conditions Report Chapter 2 Human Heritage)

The 1950's
- The 35-acre landfill began operation in 1957, accepting solid commercial and industrial waste under the ownership of Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Ltd.

The 1960's
- In 1968, the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) purchased the property. Prior to this purchase, the Harmony valley site was used by
the Buckaroo Ranch - a children's dude ranch

The 1970's
- In 1976 a matter between Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Co. v. Ontario (Ministry of the Environment) at the Ontario Environmental Appeal Board discussed sections 77, 78 and 80 of the Environmental Protection as well as a Ministry of the Environment Provisional Certificate of Approval for a Waste Disposal Site located on this site (Lot 3, Concession 3)
- In 1977, CLOCA prepared a master plan for the Harmony Valley site (Harmony Valley Conservation Area Master Plan Report)
- No new waste has been brought to the site since 1979 or 1980, closed on paper in 1980 or 1985. Development is prohibited on a site for 25 years after its closing.

The 1980's
- There have been amendments to the Certificate of Approval (A390102). According to records obtained by the Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch of the Ministry of Environment, it was issued in 1985 to Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Ltd.

The 1990's
- In the 1990's, CLOCA published the Harmony Valley Conservation Area Planning Assessment.
- Coscan Development Corp., which owned three pieces of land near the landfill, asked the City of Oshawa for a zoning amendment to build near the site. The City refused, saying the landfill posed too large an environmental threat to allow residential development so close by, however, the decision was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board which sided with the developer in a 1995 decision.
- Some time in the early 1990's, the monitoring stations I have photographed stopped being monitored. An MOE employee told me that these types of landfills have innocuous impacts, is relatively small and does not generate a lot of contaminants. (BUT how can we know it is not generating contaminants if the site is not being monitored?)
- In a 1993 Ontario Municipal Board hearing, concerns were expressed over leachate monitoring and leachate impact on the West side of the landfill near the subdivisions. (Decision/Order No. 1130). These concerns from the City of Oshawa were dismissed by the Ministry of Environment.
- Coscan Development Corp., which owned three pieces of land near the landfill, asked the City of Oshawa for a zoning amendment to build near the site. The City refused, saying the landfill posed too large an environmental threat to allow residential development so close by, however, the decision was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board which sided with the developer in a 1995 decision. (taken from Oshawa This Week article)

The 2000's
- Industrial Disposal (Oshawa) Ltd. applied to change the name of the owner to Philip Enterprises Ltd. (March 13)
- The Certificate of Approval was amended, to change the name of Philip Enterprises Inc. to Philip Services Inc. (May 26). It is mentioned that the waste disposal site was approved under Section 39 of the Environmental Protection Act. The Section 39
- As a precaution required from the Ontario Municipal Board hearing, the developer is performing monitoring to the West of the landfill every 5 years beginning in 2000. Despite monitoring being performed periodically here, where there is also a leachate collection system, this is not the area I am concerned about.
- In 2003, Philip Services Inc. transferred the land to the current owners (Rossland Acres Inc.). The site was purchased for $100.
- In 2004, Harmony Valley Conservation Area (owned by the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority) was purchased by the City of Oshawa and became Harmony Valley Park.
- In May 2006 the Harmony Valley Park Master Plan was published by Marshall Macklin Monaghan for the City of Oshawa. This document is available online.
There are only a few references to the landfill in this document, among them:
    - At the southwest corner of the site is a former landfill site, which is in private ownership.
    - Landfill, if remediated, could allow for future expansion of the park site. (listed as an opportunity)
    - Unknown future of surrounding adjacent projects (Rossland Road, Landfill) make planning for edges difficult. (listed as a constraint)
    - Landfill safety and environmental concerns will affect the park in the short term. (listed as a constraint)
- In July 2006, the City of Oshawa's Development Services Committee published a report "Proposal to Develop a Common Elements Condominium Medi Terra Properties Corporation, 711 Grandview St". This is available on their website.
- In 2008 documents from the Ontario Municipal Board (C-O-2007-05), Urban Bau Corporation is in the process of building common elements condominium tied to a 67 unit block townhouse 711 Grandview Street (on the south-west edge of the landfill). The site is currently owned by CFI Holdings Inc. The plan was initially approved in 1995 by the Ontario Municipal Board.
- In early June, 2008 the landfill property at land to the south was listed for sale on the MLS website. Listed as a 70 acre vacant land property, the sale price asked for $4,900,000. This encompasses 20 acres of the Harmony Creek landfill and 50 acres to the south. The sale was terminated on June 13, 2008.
- In 2009 Sarah Ross and Lake Ontario Waterkeeper submitted an Application for Investigation to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. This was accepted, and has resulted in monitoring of the site by the Ministry of Environment.

The 2010's
- The IDOL site is subject to periodic monitoring by the Ministry of Environment.
- The landfill property was sold to a different owner (details and date unknown). The Ministry of Environment has been in contact with the new owner.

Is anyone monitoring this?

This is the big question! So far in my search I have come up empty handed. Intriguingly, there seem to be two monitoring stations where this leaching is occuring. One is made of white plastic and is located downstream of the leaching area, and the second is a metal blue box with a lock on it. I can not tell if either are still operational, and calls to various local agencies have not given me any information on
a) Who owned the site in the past and who currently owns it?
b) What was monitored at these stations in the past and is any monitoring conducted now? What parameters have been monitored and what is the protocol for monitoring?

These sites must belong to someone. My aim is to find out who, and what - if anything - is being monitored here. Delving into the history is interesting, but even more important is the current situation. Whose responsibility is it to monitor the site and ensure heavy metals are not leaching into the water?

Below are pictures of the "monitoring stations" from various angles.

My concern

A few weeks ago, while walking my dog, I noticed an unnerving rusty-coloured area along the path that I usually take. I have heard from a long-time resident that this site used to be a private dump site for some nasty things, so this sudden appearance (to me) caused me to do some digging.

Firstly, I took pictures of the site on April 22. I have posted some below. According to a family member of mine, it started just after the spring snow melt. It looks like iron or something, but not having a toxicological background or the thousands of dollars for testing I can not say for sure.

This is very concerning because a) the area is heavily used by dog walkers and other people, b) there is a subdivision directly adjacent to the area, and c) anything leaching out ends up in the Harmony Creek and Lake Ontario (which supplies our drinking water)! Is anyone watching and keeping an eye on this?

"We've poured our poisons into the world as though it were a bottomless pit.. and we go on gobbling them up. It's hard to imagine how the world could survive another century of this abuse, but nobody's really doing anything about it. It's a problem our children will have to solve, or their children."
- Daniel Quinn -

Where is this landfill exactly?

Probably unknown to many, an inactive landfill in Oshawa has come to my attention. Despite my investigative skills, I have not been able to come up with much information on the site.

Its geographic location is in North Oshawa just east of the intersection of Harmony and Rossland Road. It is surrounded by Grandview Street to the West, Corbett's Park to the North, and Harmony Valley Park (formerly the Harmony Valley Conservation Area) to the East. Maps are published on the June 2 post.

The landfill looks awfully like a large, harmless hill. With little details made available - despite my efforts - I am interested in any history, personal accounts or other information anyone may have! You may post comments here or e-mail me at