Tuesday, April 3, 2018


So a couple of weeks back or more I invited my Ward 1 councillor, Patrick Merlihan on a little environmental field trip. It was a very short field trip as the former Bolender Park Landfill is across Arthur St. from the Woolwich Observer which is co-owned by Patrick. We went to the back end of the Landfill which we accessed via High St.. Patrick was there at my invitation as his constituent and I have since confessed to Frank Rattasid whose property we were on. Frank as always was very gracious and understanding of the circumstances involved.

We (or at least I was) were there specifically to debunk false statements made by Conestoga Rovers (CRA) in their various technical reports regarding methane migration from the Landfill. The specific nonsense I was debunking had to do with alleged water, either standing or flowing, in a ditch that lies in a north-south configuration parallel with Mr. Rattasid's (ie. the former Landfill) property. Overall I found Patrick's attitude to be one of superiority, arrogance and disrespect. That has been both his and his brother Joe's attitudes towards me for many years despite my best efforts to get along with both of them. I do grant that I have on rare occasions responded here unkindly towards them when I've gotten fed up with their stupidity and disrespect. That said I do respect and read their newspaper every week, Patrick did agree to attend at my invitation and he did graciously offer me a ride afterwards.

The alleged significance of the water in the ditch is the claim by CRA that this water prevents lateral or horizontal migration of methane eastwards towards the residential homes on High St. and possibly the closest George St. homes. We had had a major rainfall approximately eight days earlier and the ditch involved is shaded by the mature trees present. It was bone dry and I walked in the bottom of it from top to bottom in my running shoes. CRA also claimed that the ditch was three metres deep. With Patrick walking along the top of the ditch and me in the bottom we stopped several times and his feet were perhaps at the level of my waist or just slightly higher. So much for three metres deep.

I showed Patrick a neighbour`s composter sitting in the bottom of the ditch. Keep in mind that over the decades the neighbours have incorrectly assumed that this ditch and nearby trail over towards the Trans Canada Trail (Kissing Bridge Trail) were on Woolwich Township land. No long time neighbour is going to locate his composter in the bottom of a ditch that has standing or running water in it. More significantly I showed Patrick a water access or cleanout pipe, clearly marked as such, again right in the bottom of the ditch. When I asked if he thought that Woolwich Public Works were so incompetent that they would locate an access to a drinking water pipe in an area regularly submerged by surface water; his response was a little less than diplomatic. This water pipe by the way is the illegally located pipe supplying water to Elmira Pet products. Illegally located I might add by Woolwich Township.

The icing on the cake was the appearance of a neighbour whose backyard bordered Mr. Rattasid`s property. This neighbour was very friendly, communicative and helpful. He advised both Patrick and I that he had been living there since 1972 and he had NEVER seen water standing or flowing in that ditch. While Patrick had been very dismissive (and disrespectful) of all the evidence up to that point, he finally changed his tune. This neighbour by the way is the third local resident whom both Patrick and I know who has stated that they have never seen water in that ditch!

So you readers can decide for yourselves whether or not Conestoga Rovers were indulging in psuedo or junk science with their claims of water in the ditch preventing methane flow eastwards. Also when challenged to produce any scientific literature to back up claims of water stopping lateral methane migration, the Township made a half hearted attempt to do so. It was pathetic. My opinion of course is expressed in yesterday`s posting.

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