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)