Saturday, May 20, 2017


Back in 1995 the K-W Record (Shirley Rennie) wrote an article about Doug and Melanie Stronach possibly from Elora or Fergus who wrote a song about the Elmira water crisis that went like this:

"Angus and me on the bank of the creek with a chemical cocktail and faith in the weak

Ministry mobile up on the hill sucking in air for the media spill

It's all clear now they say, all clear now "

"You can fool some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Back in the 90s everyone other than Uniroyal Chemical's suppliers, customers, employees and or local politicians all knew what and who Uniroyal were and it certainly wasn't a pretty picture. Groups up and down the Grand River initiated steps to stop the Ministry of Environment from giving approval to Uniroyal's plan to only contain 1/4 of the length of the groundwater discharge to the Canagagigue Creek. The public were deceived in regards to the contributions and dispersal of toxic liquids from the east side of Uniroyal. Both the Environmental Assessment Board and the Environmental Appeal Board were approached albeit unsuccessfully.

In August 1995 Bob Burtt of the K-W Record did an article about my efforts in Elmira in which he quoted me as saying "When I got involved with Uniroyal it dawned on me that what I saw at Varnicolor Chemical was not the exception to the rule, but the way the Ministry of Environment treats all polluters.".

There were good intentioned efforts by Art Fletcher to get both APTE and the Elmira Environmental Hazards Team (EH-Team) back into UPAC, the Uniroyal Public Advisory Committee. I and the EH-Team left in January 1994 over the DNAPL failure by UPAC and APTE left UPAC in June 1994 primarily over UPAC's failure to respond appropriately to the Upper Aquifer Containmnent plans of Uniroyal and Conestoga Rovers.

In October 23, 1995 in a Letter To The Editor Susan Bryant and Sylvia Berg wrote the following:

"UPAC is not pushing. It is as simple as that. UPAC has gone to sleep. However APTE will not join the snore. Though we do not participate as UPAC members, APTE and the EH-Team continue to attend every meeting, raising many questions that seem to fall into dead space."

UPAC was set up from the start to fail as far as the public interest went. It was however set up by Woolwich Council to protect the interests of Uniroyal and to give the appearance of public consultation. The membership was stacked with Woolwich Councillors, former Uniroyal employees, Chamber of Commerce, GRCA, WRDSB (School Board)and other types more interested in the status quo and restoring peace and tranquility than in actually cleaning up Elmira's contamination whether air, groundwater, surface water and soils. They would accept criticism of Uniroyal but with their majority on UPAC expected to win any and all votes necessary while pretending to be concerned about the environment. As Susan said "UPAC has gone to sleep.".

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