Monday, July 1, 2019


Frankly I was shocked. While not a large industrial site by any means, the length, variety, and duration of manufacturing in the midst of a residential area was very surprising to me. Rych Mills, historian, wrote an article titled "100 years of manufacturing on Shanley Street". It was published in the Waterloo Region Record two days ago. We the public have been advised that the main contaminant on the site is trichloroethylene (TCE) but to me that is like suggesting that the main risk from an atom bomb is the initial shock wave. Not mentioning fire, heat, or radiation is just plain ridiculous. This site has manufactured furniture with multiple different companies. It has also manufactured store counters, wall bins, floor racks and display units. Lastly Morval Durofoam, ending in 1991, produced plastic and foam components for cars as well as specialty packaging products.

Each and every one of these manufacturers may have added their own particular varnishes, paints, solvents, metal cleaning agents, acids, and plastics to the mix of whatever is below the ground surface on that site. The article does mention "migrating pollutants" although no specifics are made as to how far they've gone or their toxicity.

This I can tell you. Based upon my thirty years of observing, interacting, and dealing with the Ontario Ministry of Environment I would find it astonishing if they have any more than a rudimentary understanding of the sub-surface contaminant hydrogeology or the current health risks associated with that property. That this kind of manufacturing enterprise could be allowed in a residential neighbourhood decades to a century ago is beyond belief. That it has not been studied carefully and the technical results released to the neighbours and public is shocking. No good ever comes from keeping problem areas hidden. This could end up being another Bishop St. community in Cambridge where hundreds of homes were impacted by TCE from Northstar Aerospace and Rozell Mfg. Clearly our authorities have learned nothing from past environmental disasters and crises.


  1. My Great Grandmother lived on Louisa street where I spent a large portion of my childhood. Please tell me why you feel MECP should have been involved how many years ago. There are no watercourses or nearby groundwater wells and this site (no it well) had residential build around it again how many years ago. You are fear mongering again as there is little to be done since it is private property. Remember where your Dad worked to bring home a pay cheque to raise you and your siblings.
    Really you should stay in Elmira area with your blog where you have spent so much of your life advocating. Also it is a stat holiday so you should have taken a rest to celebrate where you live and how good you have it in so many ways.

    1. While I appreciate your concern regarding my workload and days of rest unfortunately your knowledge base is extremely limited.The issue in Cambridge of which I am very familiar, as unlike you, I have studied the reports carefully, is about vapour intrusion from TCE. The TCE dissolved in the groundwater volatolizes into the air around residential basements and then enters through any cracks or other openings. First the pets die then multiple generations within homes begin contracting cancer from TCE which is recognized as extremely carcinogenic. It is extremely important that the MOE (MECP) get off their asses and do their jobs and release all technical data they have on this site to the neighbours and the public in order to know whether the sub-surface TCE is migrating in the groundwater and getting into neighbour's homes via vapour intrusion.

    As a past resident of the contamination in Cambridge. I for one, am happy to have you advocate for us. No one else appears to give a dam about the residents still living in that mess!