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 http://www.oshawa.ca/agendas/Development_Services/2008/11-10/DS_08_489_IDOL.pdf. 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: http://www.oshawa.ca/agendas/Development_Services/2008/11-10/2008-11-10_Minutes_DSC_22.pdf

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.

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