Community groups write open letter about Carp Road landfill concerns

EDITOR’S NOTE: Seven Stittsville and West Carleton community associations have written an open letter to City of Ottawa officials about the development of the Carp Road landfill near their communities.  The entire letter is republished here.

Open letter to Ottawa Mayor and City Council

June 17, 2015

The private landfill on Carp Road owned and operated by Waste Management of Canada, first opened in the 1970s in the rural outskirts of Ottawa, servicing the local population. Up until it closed in 2011, it expanded in size and service area to the point that it became known as ‘Carp Mountain’. During this time period the city of Ottawa rapidly expanded westward with thousands of new families calling Stittsville, Kanata and West Carleton home and a place to live, work and play. The operation of a large regional landfill in close proximity to rapidly growing suburban communities has lead to social, economic and environmental impacts and conflicts. Waste Management is now in the process of getting approvals to expand the regional landfill operation which will have continuing negative impacts on the local communities for decades to come.

With the rapid growth of Ottawa to the west, local community associations have been established to advocate on behalf of residents. The impact of an expanded landfill is a concern raised by members of those community associations. The city will negotiate a ‘Host Municipality Agreement’ (HMA) with Waste Management to address concerns raised by the community and to mitigate the potential negative consequences of having a large, active, regional landfill in our community. Listed below are our concerns and what we expect in ongoing negotiations.

Landfill odours: 

(all landfills have odours. Without effective monitoring and reporting , odours can get out of control as they did when the closed landfill was operational)

The city must work with the provincial ministry to assure that community quality of life is not impacted by landfill odours.

Monitoring: odour conditions must be continuously monitored at the landfill site and monitoring results made available to the public. Anomalies must be investigated and mediated by an impartial third party. Routine monitoring must also be carried out throughout the community and at specific community monitoring sites.

Reporting: Residents who feel they are adversely affected by landfill odours must have an open and transparent reporting mechanism by which they can record and submit their complaints to Waste Management/the Ministry/the City. Reporting must be easy by telephone, computer and smart phone app. Odour reports should record location in a manner that is suitable for mapping (on the internet or geoOttawa). 311 is not good enough.

Investigating: Odour complaints must be investigated by an impartial third party through site visits and interviews. The results of investigations must be reported to the City on a regular basis and be open to the public.

Compensation:  The community must be compensated by Waste Management for any adverse affects of odour suffered by residents or businesses in the community. Compensation should be based on the proposed odour enforcement mechanism proposed by WM in the approved EA.

Groundwater/surface water:

(Effective groundwater/surface water monitoring is required to assure protection of groundwater resources and the natural environment).

All leachate produced during the contamination lifespan of the landfill must be collected and treated so that groundwater and surface water are not affected negatively. Waste Management must use approved Best Management Practices and Mitigation to handle current and future potential impacts, particularly since contamination has been a problem before.

There must be a comprehensive groundwater monitoring program to assure effectiveness of the groundwater protection program. The groundwater monitoring program must include on-site and off-site monitoring, including private wells within 3 kilometres of the landfill.  The monitoring program must be capable of differentiating between impacts associated with both the old closed landfill and problems arising from the new one (expansion). The results of the environmental monitoring must be available to the public.

Property Value Protection:

(An extensive literature review shows clearly that landfill operations generally have negative impacts on the value of properties in the vicinity of the operation)

No property owner should suffer a loss in value to their property related to the development and operation of a landfill operation. There must be a Property Value Protection Plan (PVPP) that will compensate for any demonstrated loss in property value as result of the landfill. Eligibility for PVPP should not be defined by Waste Management but be based on demonstrated property value loss. The Property Value Protection Program proposed by WM in the approved EA provides a mechanism of property appraisal that could be used to establish property value loss.

Loss in property value related to a landfill operation can be Direct or Stigma related and It is important that a Property Value Protection Plan (PVPP) include both cases.

Traffic:

Carp Road is an important regional transportation corridor and trucking route. The new landfill will add significant traffic volume to Carp Road over its lifespan. Carp Road is also designated by the city as a cycling route and part of the primary Spine System of bicycle routes. Right now Carp Road is very unsafe for cycling with heavy truck traffic and no paved shoulders or cycle lanes. Additional garbage and recycling traffic will compound the issue. In order to assure efficient commuting, community safety and to encourage cycling, Carp Road should have 4 lanes, with turning lanes, to allow trucks to enter and leave the landfill safely, as well as wide, well maintained, paved shoulders for cycling.

Community Compensation:

The existence of a landfill has negative impacts on the community in which it is located, and there must be fair compensation to help make up for this degradation. The Carp Landfill Community Liaison Committee has prepared a comprehensive review of compensation provided by other landfill operators and proposed that communities in the neighbourhood of the new WCEC landfill should expect compensation in the order of the $6.50 / tonne, provided to Windsor/Essex.  Part of the Community Compensation Plan should include annual Impact Benefits for those property owners living in close proximity to the landfill and suffer the greatest daily impacts associated with the landfill operation.

Litter & visual impacts:

Blowing litter, messy property and muddy roads can result from a poorly operated landfill. This was true in the past when plastic litter from the landfill was blowing all over the place and garbage was visible on the slopes of the landfill. The community expects that a Community Host Agreement will include measures that assure the new landfill is operated with best management practices that will guarantee the site is clean and visibly appealing. There should be defined enforcement actions that can be used by the city if the site becomes unsightly.

As community associations that represent thousands of homeowners and businesses that will be affected by the new landfill on Carp Road we respectfully ask that our concerns and expectations be addressed by the city during negotiations with Waste Management on a new Host Municipality Agreement, and that we be consulted during the course of negotiations.

Sincerely;

Richardson Corridor Community Association
Stittsville Village Association
Fairwinds Community Association
Jackson Trails Community Association
Huntley Manor Community Association
Crossing Bridge Community Association
Southwest Stittsville Community Association


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