Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Twenty-one years ago, the east side of Elmira, along Union St. was referred to as Elmira's mini chemical valley. I believe this was in comparison to the Sarnia area of Ontario with their plethora of petrochemical industries. Our mini chemical valley at that time included Uniroyal, Varnicolor, Nutrite, Sulco, Borg and perhaps the Sewage Treatment Plant. Two of the reasons for this location of the mini chemical valley are environmental. The Canangagigue Creek is there for ready disposal of liquid wastes and the prevailing winds are from west to east, thus locating on the east side of town ensured that most of the gaseous fume disposal went unnoticed.

Are there other reasons for Elmira's good fortune in regards to attracting dirty industries? Professor Keith Warriner of the University of Waterloo definitely thinks so. His August 2001, published series of reports are entitled "Social justice and environmental equity: Distributing environmental quality". Both the opponents of Woolwich Bio-En and of the proposed Hawk Ridge Homes sub division should look carefully at Professor Warriner's thesis. Three reasons include pure market forces, the path of least resistance and the most contentious, environmental classism or racism. I believe the Professor settles on the last two reasons in regards to specifically Elmira with emphasis on class not racism as has been more prevalent in the United States.

Here I would sound a precautionary note to both the old and new Woolwich Council. Ralgreen Cres. residents in Kitchener sued the City of Kitchener and won a settlement. Duke St. residents of Elmira sued Uniroyal(Crompton) and won a settlement. The new Hawk Ridge residents and the old residents east (downwind) of Woolwich Bio-En could sue Woolwich Township for damages to the enjoyment of their property. As a resident of Woolwich Township I don't care for an increase in my taxes simply because either the old or new Council fancy developers over people, common sense and decency.

P.S. The City of Cambridge are currently experiencing complaints from a new subdivision at the south end of town, located near their Sewage Treatment Plant. As Elmira's population expands, does Council think the STP located 125 yards from Hawk Ridge will smell less?

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