Thursday, May 31, 2012


O.K. as per the title above, this is one more kick at helping public attendance at CPAC meetings. Lately we have had slightly increased attendance but it still can only fairly be described as sparse. It is tonite at 6 pm. in the Woolwich Council Chambers. No there won't be either free beer or dancing girls. There will be however dancing bears (a metaphor) as well as a glimpse into why our environment is on the rocks. You will see dedicated volunteers going up against politcs and money. You will see bullies and fibbers in suits defending the indefensible. A few days back I saw on television for the second time the movie "Thank You For Smoking". It like tonight is a celebration of freedom of choice to do the very stupid, because some people become rich in your so doing.

Yesterday we received in the mail a Notice from Woolwich Township. This Notice is a "Proposed Official Plan Amendment". In years past based on ignorance I would have barely glanced at this and then thrown it out. Older and wiser now I guess. I have learned that many local environmental issues start off as planning issues. Pardon the pun but it's called paving the way. This particular Notice however deals with "Rationalizing" the Settlement Boundaries. This Settlement of course is the Elmira Settlement Area. I've looked it over reasonably carefully and I think I understand, sort of, what's going on. I'm less clear as to the reasons why. Nevertheless there are two interesting items I'd like to point out. Firstly there will be a Public Meeting on Tuesday June 12/12 7 pm. in the Woolwich Council Chambers. I guess if Boundary changes may effect you whether as a Developer or as a property owner you might wish to attend. There are both removals and additions proposed to the Elmira Settlement Area. Secondly what caught my eye in the four proposed options is the BY-PASS on the east side of Elmira. Well! I don't know how long or how recently this proposed route and BY-PASS has been on the books but it certainly is relevant to everyone and most especially those impacted by the proposed BIO-EN plant just off of Arthur St.. For that item alone I may well attend the public meeting.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


O.K. we'll do the bitching first and the announcements second. What in the name of all that is holy is wrong with Woolwich township's website? I know that the Township have been repeatedly asked by citizens, the general public and CPAC members to get their on-line CPAC information up to date. I know way back on February 10/12 here in the advocate I gave them heck for having a link to Chemtura right in the middle of their CPAC information as well as being months behind in posting Agendas and Minutes of meetings. Well yes they have shifted Chemtura down to the bottom which is only slightly better. Their Agendas & Minutes are both late and missing. Come on guys you've totally missed one of the June 2011 meetings as well as April 2012. You have a total of five Agendas and only four of the Minutes of CPAC on the Township website. There have been seven public CPAC meetings to date with the eighth tomorrow evening.

Announcements- O.K. as already mentioned above the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting is tomorrow evening at 6 pm. in the Council Chambers. Come on out and watch teamwork at its' best. Chemtura and the M.O.E. are experts at massaging the truth and proposing alternative realities.

This is a tad embarassing and my apologies to the good folks (citizens that is) involved with the Jigs Hollow Pit. On my calendar is marked "Teleconference" for this Friday, followed by "Hearing commences" for next Tuesday June 5/12. I THINK this is in reference to their issue and in future will be more careful to mark specifics on my calendar.

The BFCC (BioFuel Citizens Committee) start Mediation on June 13/12 in the Township offices. I think that this will probably be private as mediation is usually "without prejudice" ie. statements and information can't be divulged publicly and used against them. Also on Monday June 11/12 there will be an Information centre set up by the BFCC in Bolender park at 7:30 pm.. This is an excellent way to get your message and information out to the public.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


"The Brownfield Remediation Program was started in 2006 in Kitchener by Boutilier (Terry). It was later adopted by the Region of Waterloo.". This is a quote from today's Waterloo Region Record story titled "City gives developer nearly $600,000 for cleanup around Breithaupt Street". This story is singing the praises of Terry Boutilier a longtime retiring employee of the City of Kitchener. Without intending in any way to comment on his entire tenure with the City I must however advise that boy I wish I had a job that entailed handing out money to people and businesses. Sort of seems like a breeze on the surface.

This program obviously has its' admirers. What I wonder is who is asking the difficult questions? This is taxpayers money. Why are taxpayers forking out big bucks to clean up old contaminated sites? Are our environmental laws so profoundly rotten that owners of contaminated sites can simply walk away? Is the enforcement of the laws so shoddy that owners can simply walk away? Who are the current owners and what ever happened to buyer beware? What was the name of these old industrial businesses. I find that very strange that the addresses are given out on Breithaupt and Moore St. in Kitchener but not the name of the business.

Is this whole program an obvious symptom of our hypocrisy? Do we talk sustainability and practice the opposite? Do we continue to allow if not reward environmental pigs in our industrial and manufacturing sectors? Is this not a huge disincentive to companies who are making environmental decisions? Why on earth would a company decide to clean up their own mess if they know they can walk away from it and the taxpayers will bail them out? Is this also a conflict of interest? Are any of these city or regional councillors recipients of developers political contributions? That is most likely a yes response. Money unfortunately is what has long shaped decision making by politicians. It's not supposed to but it's basic human nature. You pat my back and I pat yours. You are a political supporter; what can I do for you.

Last but not least. How clean is clean? If the incompetent and grotesque Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) are supervising and approving the cleanup without outside oversight then it's most likely inadequate. Who besides the developer, the City and the M.O.E. have access to the technical reports describing the contamination and remediation? If they are not available to the public who are footing the bill, then this whole program is highly suspect. It is probably one more big taxpayer ripoff, thank you very much.

Monday, May 28, 2012


It's been twenty-one years since the Uniroyal/M.O.E. sweetheart deal of October 7, 1991. The copy of that deal which I have, mentions at the top that it is Schedule H of the March 1993 agreement between the Region of Waterloo, Uniroyal and the M.O.E.. As of this date, nineteen years later I still don't have a copy of that agreement which however I am aware does at least two things. It provides for a pipeline to be built from Waterloo to Elmira/St.Jacobs to act as an alternate source of water for those communities. Secondly once again it provides for mutual releases allowing Uniroyal to buy it's way out of trouble.

There is yet another bilateral deal and this one occurred in June 1993 between the Region of Waterloo and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.). This one is all about the money. It too however releases the M.O.E. from any further legal or financial actions against them for their failures/negligence in protecting the natural environment in Elmira. Essentially our government Ministrys, using our tax dollars, hire lawyers to protect them from liability when they utterly fail to fulfill their mandates. Mandates that we as citizens pay through the nose for and essentially get bullshit and lies for in return. Isn't democracy grand? Our other levels of government, namely regional and municipal, also paid by us to protect our interests do not hold the provincial M.O.E. accountable. Far from it. They give them releases and indemnitys in exchange for a repayment of a small fraction of the damages sustained.

This is where transparency and the smell test become apparent. Our regional and municipal (Woolwich) government were parties to the Environmental Appeal Board hearings twenty plus years ago. They received copies of all documents and all releases given to the M.O.E. and Uniroyal. I am not suggesting that certain individuals within those two levels of government were surrepticious within their own political processes and duties. I expect that they shared these documents within their respective municipal and regional councils. God help them if it comes out that they didn't. What they totally and utterly failed to do was to share the deals they made with the public. In fact they blatantly lied to the public.

This lying and deception of the public is where the hypocrisy knows no bounds. They promised a restoration of the Elmira Aquifers by 2028. Utter bullshit! They promised major source removal of buried wastes and contamination on the Uniroyal site. Utter bullshit! They indemnified Uniroyal (secretly) from all liability for known contamination as of 1991. This included major DNAPL (dense non aqueous phase liquids) contamination specifically listed in their bait and switch Control Order of November 4, 1991. The M.O.E. in conjunction with Woolwich Township formed a citizens committee (UPAC) to guide the CLEANUP of the Uniroyal site and the Elmira Aquifers. They did this with full knowledge that this was nothing but a public relations exercise. Both these parties ably assisted by Uniroyal/Chemtura then lied, misled and deceived these citizen volunteers for the next two decades plus. They refused to provide them with the most basic and relevant documents regarding the framework of any cleanup. Uniroyal/Chemtura failed to clarify on literally hundreds of occasions that they had legal indemnitys in their hip pockets exonerating them from doing cleanup that the committee demanded. The M.O.E. who have attended every meeting over the last twenty-one years sat there and said nothing when citizens demanded answers.

If there is one small bright light in this disgusting display of government secrecy, arrogance and contempt of the public, it is this. The new Woolwich Council elected in October 2010 were voted in by citizens tired of environmental damage and excuses. This Council and new Mayor are far from perfect but they are far more honest than any we've had for decades. It is Mayor Cowan and Council who are releasing some of these relevant and long overdue documents to the public. I've known and spoken publicly over the last several years that the Elmira "cleanup" has been a sham. Now we know how Chemtura and the M.O.E. have gotten away with it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Today's Woolwich Observer carrys this story "Residents' group hopes to fill coffers in advance of gravel pit legal battle". I'm sorry but my very first impression upon reading this headline was to recall U.S. studies which clearly show that south of the border, proponents of disruptive and noxious enterprises routinely site them in low income neighbourhoods. By so doing and with the support of the local police they are able to enforce laws against vandalism, rowdy demonstrations and other behaviour which humans who aren't well off will resort to, to make their voices heard. These noxious enterprises include hazardous waste sites, municipal landfills and of course gravel pits.

I've read several of the technical reports and they simply gloss over the fact that this is a longtime residential area. Yes there is a certain amount of gravel beneath the farmland between Winterbourne and Conestogo. Geology and the ice age have been generous along the Grand River valley in laying down this sand and gravel. All the mitigation in the world will not hide the fact that these people's enjoyment of their properties will be negatively affected by a gravel pit so close to them. The O.M.B. have stopped three whole gravel pits recently. They have permitted hundreds more and like the Ministry of Natural Resources are merely present to give the appearance of legality and legitimacy to the disruptions caused by the gravel lobby for their financial benefit.

The formal hearing starts on November 5/12 at the Woolwich Township offices. I admire the resolution and fortitude of the local residents fighting this abomination hiding behind the guise of public need. I hope they are sucessful in their fundraising efforts while knowing that most communities couldn't even begin to marshall the resources necessary for this legal battle. Once again invasion and assault comes to Canadian citizens who are not allowed to defend themselves and their properties by force. Instead they must pay through the nose to fight a legal battle in which the rules are rigged in favour of government and industry. Make no mistake government and industry are hand in hand and always have been. This applies to each and every environmental battle currently going on in Woolwich Township from BIO-En, Jigs Hollow Pit, West Montrose and the Bridgekeepers to Chemtura and more.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Yesterday's Elmira Independent isn't on-line quite yet but I will try to put a link to it when it is. They have one story titled "Woolwich Township seeks consolidation of OMB cases" which is about the Jigs Hollow Pit (Kuntz) nearest Winterbourne. They also have an Opinion piece by Michael Purves-Smith titled "What is wrong with the Green Energy Act". Sometimes citizens can be fooled simply by the title of a piece of legislation and I am no exception. Well Michael's analysis of this particular piece of legislation is an eye opener.

Regarding the Jigs Hollow Pit, the Township have sent a resolution to the Ministry of Natural Resources asking them to refer the Aggregate Resources Act application for the pit to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). As there is already an appeal of this pit under the Planning Act before the OMB, essentially this would put two issues before the same Board at the same time. I must admit that I'm not really clear as to why the MNR application is problematic but if indeed the township's purpose is to consolidate two potential hearings into one, that does seem to make sense. Also there is mediation involved with the Jigs Hollow Pit which may or may not scope outstanding issues prior to the hearing. Best of luck to Lynne and Jan and all the other volunteers fighting to protect Woolwich Township .

Firstly Michael Purves-Smith differentiates between other forms of renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal. Trucks and trucking are not part of their equation. Unfortunately with non farm Biomass, trucking is a huge issue. The proposed Elmira plant cannot operate without a steady stream of trucked in garbage. Quoting Michael "It is a travesty to ignore that fact. A ton of waste from London would use about as much energy as could be produced from the biomass, not to mention the damage caused by traffic congestion and the heavy toll of carbon emissions involved in both the transport and the decomposition of the gartbage.". If as seems reasonable by Michael's arguments that in fact this whole process is simply a hidden taxpayer subsidy to a few investers and that there is no true gain in energy production for the rest of us, then this renewable enrgy act is a sham. If this plant isn't even close to being financially viable without inflated electicity rates being paid to it and it causes increased emissions of exhaust fumes, then what the hell are we doing this for. Oh yes, for financial gain of a few investers to the detriment of the rest of us. Is this the real purpose of government? Screw the majority in order to continue the priveleges of the few?

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Next Thursday May 31/12 at 6 pm. a public CPAC meeting will be held in Woolwich Council Chambers. I urge all citizens (AND MEDIA) to attend this important public meeting. The Agenda will include important items such as a Peer Review of Chemtura's proposed plant wide Air Certificate of Approval. This proposed C. of A. absolutely has not followed any kind of proper procedure right from the beginning several years ago. My experience with long term public debate of approvals given by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to Chemtura, tells me that the M.O.E. have already, behind the public's back as well as CPAC's, given the O.K. to them. This has unfortunately been the M.O.E.'s idea of public consultation for some time and one example would be the June 21, 2000 Amended Control Order replacing the Nov. 4/91 Amended Control Order. It's bad enough that they can unilaterally change Control Orders surrepticiously, but to then have the brass to engage the public in a debate over changes that they've already made, without telling the public, is beyond contemptible.

Also on the Agenda will be discussion of a SWAT team. This stands for Soil, Water, Air Technical review team. This is an attempt by CPAC to draw not only upon their own expertise but to continue to engage other resources to assist them. Personally I see this as a good idea with the proviso that all voting CPAC members are kept in the loop and are welcome to attend all technical meetings if they so wish.

The third item that I forsee being on the Agenda will of course be CPAC's gamechanging Resolution. I have already mentioned Chemtura's first response, namely hiring a big shot Public Relations firm. I guess having the Ontario M.O.E. in their pocket is no longer adequate to ensure their control of CPAC. CPAC's Resolution dealing with Source Removal which was passed unanimously by both CPAC and Woolwich Council, changes everything. It is the debate and discussion that they have worked very hard over two decades to avoid, minimize, obfuscate, complicate and denigrate. There was a fly in the ointment regarding the July 2003 Request For Action which I, Henry Regier, Fred Hager and Susan Bryant worked diligently on and was passed unanimously by CPAC. Unknown certainly to three of us, all CPAC Motions were supposed to be ratified by Council. That was one more little tidbit that was not shared with myself and most of the CPAC members back in 2000 when we were debating CPAC becoming a committee of Council.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Boy I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that line above (ie. the title). Between the former CPAC Chair and her ally Susan Bryant, we at the old CPAC were always hearing this proposed solution. It was a feel good exercise which accomplished essentially nothing. CPAC's "expert" was an allegedly "independent" hydrogeologist who worked initially for APTE then on behalf of CPAC via Woolwich Township. Remarkably on every issue he would have "concerns". These would be discussed at CPAC with Chemtura and their consultants (CRA) who would always propose a solution that appeared to us mere lay people as grossly inadequate. Then off to a few private meetings and eureka everybody would come back to CPAC smiling. CRA and Chemtura would have their way as always but with the blessing of CPAC's "expert". It didn't take Dr. Henry Regier as long as I to figure out this was a sham.

Credentialism is a part of the game. Each side hires their own professionals and experts. They are like Doctors in that 1) they are never wrong 2) their motives are always in the public interest 3) All decisions are science and fact based 4) If 2) & 3) are proven inaccurate then refer back to 1). I disagreed with this whole idea from the very beginning. It wasn't experts who started APT Environment. It was Sandra Bray, Esther Thur and Susan Rupert. What has always been needed are citizens with common sense and outrage that a community's water supply can be destroyed and their health endangered, all for the private profit of a corporation.

I had misgivings a year ago regarding the two experts who now sit on CPAC. Twenty years plus of being sold down the river by experts made me very untrusting. Also the Mayor and Council had just made an idiotic move which I had extrapolated into disbelieving their basic motives. Well hindsight and many other decisions since then have restored my faith and confidence in their inherent wish to do right by Woolwich township. Also as I have indicated here in the Advocate many times, the two experts on CPAC namely Ron Campbell and David Marks have proven their honesty and integrity many times over. They can not do it all alone nor should they. Real strength is in the combination of knowledge, credentialed or not, combined with citizens appropriate outrage at government and corporate malfeasance.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Last Thursday's Elmira Independent carrys this story "Council seeks changes to Aggregate Resources Act". Woolwich Council are hoping to send a representative to speak directly to the Review Committee set up by the province. If this is not possible due to the very short time periods currently arranged by the provincial government, then a letter will have to suffice. Woolwich Township are looking for greater revenue from each tonne of gravel removed locally, greater rehabilitation of pits, greater enforcement of site plans and finally greater separations between gravel pits and neighbouring municipalities. All of these proposed changes are reasonable and would help balance differing interests. The Township would also like to engage the Ministry of Natural Resources in a discussion around vertical zoning and sunset clauses, two issues which the Township have been promoting for some of our local gravel pits.

By the way I just loved the large wooden sign erected temporarily at the east side of town on Church St. The Woolwich Observer carried a picture of it and I recognized it of course from the BIO-EN protest held recently outside the Woolwich Township building. It sounds as if there might be some objections to it being permanently placed there but perhaps for special events etc. it could make temporary appearances. Smelville and Arm-Pit City certainly get the message across. In my opinion sometimes a little gentle civil disobedience can go a long way.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Our two local papers have each published stories concerning Chemtura's latest environmental conviction and accompanying fine. The Woolwich Observer story last Saturday was titled "Chemtura fined $150,000 for chemical release" and the Elmira Independent story was titled "Chemtura fined $150,000 for BLE spill". The Independent story points out the start time for the upcoming public meeting as 5 pm.on June 19/12 in the Lions Hall. The Observer shares what I feel is a significant point that needs to be clarified at the public meeting and that is "...when a rupture disc burst as designed...". Has this old technology (rupture discs) been upgraded or not?

Still flying relatively below the public radar is the ongoing and long term failure of Chemtura's pump and treat system. I find both their reliance and defence of hydraulic containment (pump & treat) to be incredible based on it's history here in Elmira, much less throughout the U.S.. What is also interesting is the new CPAC's attempts to be collegial with Chemtura and how they are being rebuffed. This is the same thing that has happened with the new CPAC's repeated attempts to be courteous and respectful to the old CPAC members. Woolwich Township's new CPAC, appointed six months after the municipal election in October 2010, have worked very hard, while making substantive change, to be non confrontational with all the old players. I personally, knowing all the players and their foibles and biases, would not have wasted my time. That said I can still respect the effort and sincerity being put forth by the new CPAC.

Getting back to pump & treat's ongoing failure here in Elmira let me advise that the most recent Chemtura monthly Progress Report is out. It covers the efforts and failures during the month of April 2012. The good news is that for the first time in five months they have achieved their targeted ON-SITE pumping rates. The bad news is that their OFF-SITE pumping is still a failure, again. In the full eighteen months since the municipal election, Chemtura have achieved their targeted pumping goals to allegedly clean up the off-site aquifer, exactly three times, namely March, April & May of 2011. Fifteen of the last eighteen months have been below THEIR OWN targeted rates. Not my target, not the M.O.E.'s but THEIRS. This is in line with a total of twenty years of pumping history starting in January 1992 with onsite wells PW1 and PW3. Their plan was to wave a Nov.4, 1991 Control Order in front of the public which ordered major source removal of contamination while actually relying on a private sweetheart deal (Oct.7/91) that did not. Thus after deceiving the public into an inferior pump and treat "cleanup" , they aren't even able to meet the requirements of their own secret, self serving plan.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


We now know that there was a sweetheart deal between Uniroyal Chemical and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.) signed on October 7, 1991. They referred to that document as a Settlement Agreement. I refer to it as a sweetheart deal because each of those two parties absolved each other of all blame, all responsibilty and all liability (financial & legal) for the known contamination in Elmira and on Uniroyal's site. Previously I've stated that Uniroyal may have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup/excavation costs and the M.O.E. saved themselves from further public humiliation, condemnation and total loss of whatever credibility they had left. In hindsight I believe that these two parties intentionally cooked the future cleanup not just to save Uniroyal money but also the M.O.E. who shared responsibilty. A sweetheart deal requires beneficiaries and I believe it also requires victims. The public, the citizens of Elmira were the targeted victims. We were promised a restored drinking water aquifer. It is my belief that that was a lie from the beginning. Certainly the company and M.O.E. have lied without conscience over the last twenty-one years. Had they informed the public about their cosy little self-serving deal they would have appropriately been run out of town on a rail.

But this wasn't the only secret deal. And again secret in this sense means it wasn't given out to either the media or the public. Six parties to the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) hearing knew about it and they weren't talking. Ask yourself the question why. The answer is fairly obvious. In legal contract terms good and sufficient "consideration" was given to the rest of the parties. The Region of Waterloo we know climbed on board the sweetheart deal in March 1993 with both the M.O.E. and Uniroyal Chemical. They were given a pipeline from Waterloo in exchange for their silence and support. They also received millions of dollars from the M.O.E.. Things can get murky here. Pure bribe money would be illegal. Money for personal uses would be illegal. The Region did have legitimate out of pocket expenses related to the water crisis. What did they give up in exchange for their pipeline and expenses paid for by the Province? If they gave up a real cleanup of the Elmira aquifers, as I believe they did, was it due to bad negotiating ie. selling the farm or were there other benefits either public or private?

Another deal occurred between the Region and the M.O.E.. This one was strictly about money. What about Nutrite later known as Yara and even later as SNC Lavelin. Yes that is the same company who are making headlines around the world today for giving out bribes to elected officials including in Libya of all places. Two parties are left. Woolwich township also received their promised alternate water supply and they received money from the province (M.O.E.). The fact that they were cut a large cheque literally the day after the original sweetheart deal is probably just coincidence. Last but not least we have APT Environment. They were supposed to be representing the citizens of Elmira and I know that is exactly what the rank and file felt that they were doing. Unfortunately there was a communications disconnect between their new leadership (Susan Rupert was leaving) and the rest of the coordinaters and general membership. I was a member and Richard Clausi was a coordinater of APTE at that time. My question remains as to why the public and the rest of the APTE membership were kept in the dark about these deals and their repercushions upon any future cleanup. Also keep in mind these Releases/Indemnity were kept quiet by the APTE leadership for the next twenty-one years throughout heated wrangling at public UPAC/CPAC meetings over the lack of a proper cleanup. The only way that a secret contrary to the public interest can be kept quiet is for all participants to it to have received benefits from it. There is no doubt that these deals were contrary to the public interest and the new CPAC are struggling with them now trying to get our cleanup back on track.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Yesterday's Elmira Independent carrys a very large story regarding the workings of Chemtura's groundwater treatment system titled "How Chemtura's treatment system works". Some of the technical information is interesting and informative however I view the whole exercise as a bit of propaganda by Chemtura. They currently are the recipients of a substantial amount of attention from the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC). This attention/criticism is in regards to the alleged 'cleanup" of Elmira's groundwater by 2028. I was the first to publicly state that this was not going to happen under the past and current regieme of pump and treat. That and my insistence upon honest DNAPL investigations versus the self serving and client driven investigations we have had for years got me kicked off of the old CPAC. What we finally have on our new CPAC are a combination of common sense and expertise without the ties to the old Woolwich Council and the 1991 sweetheart deal. The smart experienced people on the old CPAC were long ago co-opted and the newer inexperienced ones didn't have the experience and were following their lead. Perhaps in time some of the old CPAC members who blindly followed the lead of the woefully ignorant Chair and her sidekick will recognize that they were being led down the garden path. Whatever individuals' motivations; secrecy, undermining honest colleagues and intentionally misleading the public earns you no respect in my eyes.

I am the first to agree that simple counting of heads in support does not guarantee truth and accuracy. I am also the first to agree that this whole cleanup/non-cleanup has been ruled by politics from the beginning. It was a crisis to be "managed" by municipal, regional and provincial officials and "manage" it they did from start to finish. Unfortunately it was not managed with the public interests being first and foremost. Surprisingly it was managed by the politicians for the interests of politicians, bureaucrats and industry being foremost. Imagine that! This management included a process of co-opting some of the spokespersons who stepped forward in 1989/90. It has been so sucessful that they are now aligning themselves with Chemtura/M.O.E. against the new CPAC Resolution. This is contemptible but at least we now know who's side they are on and where they really stand.

Source removal especially of DNAPLS is the route to go. Pat Mclean and her sidekick heard this clearly from Drs. Cherry and Parker over five years ago. The new CPAC have heard it from Dr. Krantzberg, the U.S. EPA and the knowledge of the two professionals on CPAC. Sheer bloody common sense tells us that source removal is the best way to go. Pump and treat was cheap, non invasive and politically acceptable at the time. It was NEVER acceptable to the public or honest representaives thereof.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Both these Elmira/Woolwich issues are still alive and kicking. After a twenty month wait Chemtura appear to be finally honouring their promise to hold a public meeting concerning their releae of BLE-25 to the community on September 27, 2010. A lot of the issues are now moot as both the cleanup and court case are concluded but Chemtura clearly want and need to polish their image within the community. The public meeting is scheduled for June 19/12 at Lions Hall in Elmira. My expectation is that this will be a tightly scripted, typical dog and pony show put on by Chemtura. Their new public relations consultants, Sussex Group, will run things professionally and focus on Chemtura being presented as your thoughtful, caring neighbours, ever ready to help when needed.

The BFCC are down but not out. Yes they've been handed more than a few kicks in the teeth but Woolwich residents are nothing if not resilient. The Green Energy Act, the Ministry of the Environment, Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government, the Ministry of Energy, Agriculture, the Environmental Review Tribunal etc. all have been mostly very unhelpful. Despite this, discussions continue on a number of fronts involving fund raising events, public meetings, press conferences and even proposed mediation. I had thought that mediation wasn't going to happen after two major issues were taken off the table but I've been corrected. There are still numerous operating issues which could make a major difference to living with this plant being located in a ridiculous location. It is smart to be looking at all outcomes both good and bad and planning in advance, even for the worst case scenario, is worthwhile. Bio-En is not here yet and I salute those residents who are in it for the long haul.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


This story ran in the Waterloo Region Record last Saturday May 12/12. The title was "Bye-bye to the big cities". The sub title of the story was "Cool reception from Kitchener, Waterloo prompts business to expand in Listowel". Despite this being an allegedly green business which recycles plastics, my initial thought upon seeing this article was good riddance to bad rubbish. This however I must admit was strictly a personal reaction. I've met the owner and am unimpressed with him.

Throughout this story is the claim that because this business uses a high volume of water it was causing difficulty at the local sewage treatment plant. This makes no sense at all. Uniroyal/Chemtura used to use vastly increased volumes of water in their processes and any problems they caused the Elmira STP were due to the quality of their effluent, not the volume. Similarily I heard a year ago plus that there were quality issues with the effluent from EFS Plastics. This information came indirectly through informal channels from Woolwich Township. I would characterize the source as sometimes reliable. Having seen the operations of EFS Plastics I was quite surprised at the claim of effluent problems. As described in the Record's article, they wash the incoming plastics. Obviously food containers shouldn't have serious issues. Ah I just had a brain wave. I saw pre washed plastics coming in from the Region of Waterloo. Is there any chance that this pre-washing operation was transferred to EFS ? Also I saw plastic oil bottles. Again somebody somewhere has to wash all the oil out of these bottles before they can be ground up and recycled. The other possibilty may have to do with the centrifuge system they use to seperate the plastics by weight and density. The ground up plastics are put into a large vat filled with rotating water and the plastic pieces settle out at various levels in the water. Is it possible that all the plastic is not sucessfully removed from the water prior to discharge to the sewers?

In a nutshell I'm not buying the excuses in this article that EFS's large water useage is a factor in their difficulty locating in Kitchener-Waterloo. Look at the huge industries and factories in K-W that are now closed. Their water useage would absolutely swamp EFS. EFS are a tiny little plant on Union St. across from the old Varnicolor Chemical site. Perhaps Listowel/North Perth might want to double check and be certain they are going into this with full knowledge, up front.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I've honestly lost track of how many pollution convictions Uniroyal/Chemtura have received over the years. If I had to guess I would expect around a half dozen. What I do know is that none of their convictions have been for their most serious offenses. Nothing directly related to the destruction and shutdown of the entire water supply for Elmira . Today's Waterloo Region Record advises us of their latest conviction and fine. The title is "Chemtura fined $150,000". This was for the release of a compound known as BLE-25 back on September 27, 2010. This compound contains both Diphenylamine and Acetone both relatively low in toxicity, solvents. Chemtura are claiming that they have changed the design of "pressure vents". These pressure vents are better known as rupture discs and are intentionally designed to rupture under pressure and allow the contents of otherwise sealed tanks to vent to the atmosphere. In other words to save greater damage to their facilities and property they share the contents of an overheated and or overpressurized chemical batch with their Elmira neighbours. This is very old technology and desperately needs to be upgraded.

Regarding the photograph of Mayor Todd Cowan looking at his damaged car after the release of chemicals, I need to pardon the pun, clear the air. Todd knows this as do several others from back on September 27, 2010. I was out that next morning walking the neighbourhood and talking to and with Jeff Merriman of Chemtura. Todd was running for mayor and showed me the damage on his car and others parked on Union St. near Chemtura. I then went home and phoned a reporter I know at the K-W Record (Waterloo Region Record). After listening to my information he asked me if I knew anyone personally affected by the damage. I immediately gave him Todd Cowan's name and phone numbers. Todd was contacted by the Record and a photographer dispatched to take the picture that was published in the Record both today and over a year and a half ago. This extremely timely boost to Todd's election campaign, coming only a couple of weeks before the election, may have helped him get over the top. This was but one of the reasons I was so outraged and disgusted with his behaviour seven months after the election when he kicked me off of the new CPAC. Not only was his response to my honest criticism of CPAC delays way over the top but his lack of appreciation for my efforts to help him get elected was stunning. Since getting over my initial disgust and anger I have worked very hard to try and be objective towards our new Mayor. When he screws up environmentally I say so here and when he accomplishes good things such as the ratification of the CPAC Resolution, you will also read about that here. Furthermore recently he has been the recipient of much criticism around the hiring of an underqualified person to be an assistant to himself and Council. Those criticisms are probably legitimate but further personal attacks and attempts to magnify the issue beyond that are both dishonest and just plain underhanded. I want nothing to do with that kind of nastiness. If you have a beef with our current Mayor then at least be honest and direct to the point.

Monday, May 14, 2012


In this week's Elmira Independent Gail Martin's Editorial is titled "David and Goliath". She makes it very clear that two of our local issues namely gravel pits and Biogas are in a David and Goliath situation. All the power, control, money, authority and rules are on the side of industry which means also on the side of government. Regarding the biogas plant Gail says "...the costly nature of appeals, so costly even a municipal government would think twice, and the narrow scope for appeal, which makes the likelihood of success not very likely at all." She criticizes the Ministry of Natural Resources (M.N.R.) stating they are "...often overruling concessions gained at the municipal level- concessions such as vertical zoning that will go a long way towards protecting the environment, and alleviating at least some concerns of nearby residents.". Finally Gail wraps up her Editorial with "Given that it can take up to $250,000 to go through an OMB appeal, the province's review (Aggregate resources Act) is not going far enough. or deep enough, to make it easier for average citizens to voice their objections to gravel pit applications, just like it is extremely difficult to appeal renewable energy projects."


Last Saturday's Woolwich Observer carrys this story "Little prep time as province begins gravel pit review". The big issue seems to be the lack of time and resources dedicated towards this review of the Aggregate Resources Act. Community groups and environmental groups would like to see this review be comprehensive including going on the road and hearing from individual affected communities. Here in Woolwich that would include West Montrose, Winterbourne and Conestogo. Clearly, at the moment, the promises made, including those from our local M.P.P.'s have only partially been fulfilled by this review. Mayor Todd Cowan as well as Tony Dowling of Bridgekeepers (West Montrose) are attempting to schedule a presentation for the hearings in Toronto next week. Further the government are accepting written statements from stakeholders up untill this wednesday at 5 pm..

Saturday, May 12, 2012


The front page story in today's Woolwich Observer is titled "Chemtura pledges to meet 2028 cleanup deadline". The focus of the story appears to be CPAC's pushing for SOURCE REMOVAL. This is the actual removal/destruction/elimination of subsurface sources of contamination. This would include buried wastes, buried tars and sludges, heavily contaminated soils and DNAPLS. The lack of DNAPL removal can be laid squarely not only at the feet of Chemtura and the M.O.E. but also at the feet of the leadership of APT Environment. The former Chair of the old CPAC also was directly involved in assisting her with covering up and minimizing the need for DNAPL removal. Hindsight being 20-20 it now is rather obvious that their sharing in secret knowledge of the sweetheart deal between Uniroyal and Chemtura since 1991 has coloured their behviour not only towards source removal of known contamination (DNAPLS) at that time but also coloured their dealings with their colleagues and fellow environmental activists.

Quoting Dan Holt in the Observer article "...we are only treating the symptoms; we need to remove the cancer.". Councillor and CPAC member Mark Bauman said ""Don't put all your eggs in one basket," he said of simply sticking with the pump-and-treat process." Councillor Baumann also suggested that there should be more cooperation and less of an adversarial relationship between all the parties. While this is a mom and apple pie as well as a Christian outlook on how things should be; the reality is much different. A truly responsible, community minded or ethical corporation does not behave as badly as Chemtura/Uniroyal have for the last twenty-three years. Unlike their Mennonite neighbours and community they have shown themselves cheerfully willing to take anything and everything to court. They have surrounded themselves with lawyers and consultants to fight any and all attempts to properly clean up their property and the damage they've done to their neighbours. Now they are back to hiring big shot media and public relations experts to polish their public image. None of this speaks to a corporation looking for a non adversarial relationship.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Yesterday's Elmira Independent is carrying the following story on their front page namely "Biogas appeal facing dismissal". It details events at last Tuesday's Preliminary Hearing. Essentially the Motion for Dismissal filed by BIO-EN was adjourned until today and was to be held in Toronto. The BFCC's lawyer who recently sufferred a back injury is undergoing physiotherapy and it was decided to hold the Motion hearing in Toronto to accomodate him. Regarding the proposed mediation apparently BIO-EN have made it clear that they will only participate in that if the M.O.E. approved location (Martin's Lane) is not up for discussion.

Something appears terribly wrong in this process. I say this based upon further events unfolding yesterday. Phone calls have been going back and forth between a BFCC member and their lawyer in Toronto, Mr. Gillespie. Decisions were made yesterday unilaterally that should have been made if not by the whole BFCC then at a minimum by the six signatories to the appeal. I have seen first hand the debilitating effects of one or two individuals in a group usurping authority from the group. Whatever the motivations and however positive the intent may be, this kind of behaviour always ends badly. I suggest to the whole Bio Fuel Citizens Committee and the six signatories to the appeal that you must IMMEDIATELY regain control of your own group.


The above title is the one used on the front page of this week's Elmira Independent. Gail Martin has written up the details of last Tuesday night's Woolwich Council meeting regarding the endorsement/ratification of CPAC's Resolution. Gail said "CPAC are pushing for Chemtura to remove source contaminants on its site, to aid the work that is being done by the pump and treat system."

All Councillors plus Mayor Cowan supported CPAC's resolution as they had the previous week at Committee of the Whole. Councillor Bauman to my mind made a strange comment. "It's always nice when you don't have to go to plan B,...But it's necessary to have a plan B available.". As I clearly see and understand CPAC's Resolution it is NOT a backup plan. It is an improvement and huge advancement over the current pump and treat system alone. Yes it incorporates and includes pump and treat but their Resolution certainly is not a plan B or any kind of a backup plan.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I believe it was Teddy Roosevelt who suggested to "walk softly but carry a big stick". This appears to be the attitude of the Bio-Fuel Citizens Committee. They have flexed their muscles in response to the M.O.E.'s typically gutless Decision to approve the Martin Lane location for the Bio Energy plant. Fundraising is underway and donations have already been forthcoming. At Tuesday's Preliminary Hearing at Rim Park in Waterloo, suggestions were made regarding a Mediation Session. If this occurs I'm sure it will be done on a without prejudice basis. Apparently the proponent for Bio-En is at least willing to discuss/agree to alternate trucking routes which would spare both downtown Elmira and nearby residents from the effects of increased truck traffic. Not only are odours from the plant a concern but also noise and major health effects from greatly increased diesel exhaust fumes are the major battleground. The BFCC have retained the services of lawyer Eric Gillespie, a well known advocate in environmental cases.


First bit of news is this. Apparently Chemtura feel the need for professional first rate public relations advisers. They have hired a well known firm and indeed they were present Tuesday night in Council Chambers. I've been verbally advised by two persons that the firm's name is Sussex or possibly SSG (Sussex Strategic Group ?) . In the past Uniroyal/Chemtura have hired both outside firms as well as internal media/public relations people. Robert McBain was the man back in the early days of the Elmira water crisis and since then Chemtura have had two ladies intermittently, namely a Stacy and a Karen working for them. The only comment I have is that you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. Bring on the heavyweights. If that's the best they can do to respond to legitmate public concerns about Elmira's water then further shame on them.

A number of people have commented on the apparent perceived chumminess going on with former CPAC members and Chemtura personnel. At Tuesday evening's Woolwich Council meeting they were looking even grimmer than Chemtura folks were. You'd almost think that the old CPAC folks were personally offended by the new CPAC and Council's initiative to get the groundwater cleanup going. After the decision was made by Council to support CPAC's Resolution, the old CPAC members and Chemtura staff ended up both outside Council Chambers as well as later in the parking lot, with heads together. The appearance being given is that they were plotting strategy together. Let me be very clear here. I am the blunt one who calls a spade a spade. The new CPAC as well as Council have extended olive branches to the old CPAC members who were not automatically reappointed to CPAC as they so obviously expected/demanded to be. The new CPAC have been concilatory if not outright friendly with the old CPAC. They have been respectful of the knowledge the old CPAC have. The old CPAC have absolutely not returned that courtesy or respect. Far from it in fact. I repeat the new CPAC have NEVER criticized or disrespected the old CPAC.

Josef the General Manager of Chemtura made the claim in his presentation that NDMA "...does not continue..." at Chemtura. He suggested that there were no soil deposits on or offsite of NDMA. This is a very dubious claim and frankly unsupportable. Chemtura do not have knowledge of shallow soil samples on the Borg, Sanyo or old Shirt Factory site in Elmira. If they as I have knowledge of soil samples taken at Varnicolor Chemical then they know that there is indeed NDMA in the soil there. As far as on-site NDMA in the soil, possibly bound up in tars or with other sludges, again I believe that Josef is blowing smoke. Yes NDMA is readily soluble. If however it wasn't still on site bound to soil or mixed in with other contaminants it would have all been dissolved in the groundwater decades ago and no longer be on site. It is however as well as in nearby off-site areas such as the old Nutrite/Yara property in horrendous concentrations. Finally Josef claimed that their off-site pumping made it's target pumping rate in 2009 and 2010. This is true but it failed to achive the necessary pumping rates from 1998-2008 as well as 2011 and so far in 2012. In a nutshell Chemtura's pump and treat has failed miserably by most if not all empirical measures.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Last evening in Woolwich Council Chambers, after listening to five Delegations , our Woolwich Council showed that they have both common sense and a backbone. They unanimously endorsed and ratified CPAC's Resolution to reject the current aquifer cleanup in favour of source removal of buried toxins and wastes. Twenty-one years ago different members of this Council received a copy of the October 7, 1991 Settlement Agreement (sweetheart deal) and while criticizing parts of it, chose along with five other parties to keep the Indemnity given to Uniroyal secret from the public and citizens of Elmira.

Chemtura General Manager Josef Olejarz with minor assistance from Dwight Este defended Chemtura's pump and treat system. Ron Campbell, David Marks and CPAC Chair Dan Holt spoke in favour of CPAC's Resolution. I was the last speaker and I briefly highlighted and clarified a few technical misunderstandings that came up from previous speakers. Ron Campbell made what I view as the quote of the night. "DNAPLS are the enemy". I looked over at a few APTE members in the audience who appeared to be in some mental anguish . DNAPLS are the reason Esther Thur, Richard Clausi and myself parted company with APT Environment way back in January 1994. I also answered Councillor Bauman's question to Ron Campbell in regards to the location of DNAPLS. They are on site beneath the former operating lagoons in the south-west corner of Chemtura. They are also off-site by the Elmira water tower behind (west) Varnicolor Chemical. David Marks is the professional hydrogeologist on CPAC and while clearly explaining the inherent failings of pump and treat (hydraulic containment) he was both conciliatory and non-confrontational towards Chemtura. Dan Holt's presentation was excellent and pointed out quotes from the Ministry of the Environment and Chemtura in support of source removal of buried toxic wastes. Two major points for which I applaud "Dr. Dan" are these. Regarding Chemtura Dan said "The level of trust...has not been earned.". Secondly Dan again pointed out that it was the M.O.E. who (secretly) indemnified Uniroyal/Chemtura from legal and financial liabilty in 1991.

In my presentaion I also pointed out a minor misunderstanding concerning the number of toxic contaminants in the Elmira aquifers. This misunderstanding is to be expected as the company, their consultants and the M.O.E. have focused solely on NDMA, Chlorobenzene and the last few years Ammonia allegedly only from Nutrite (Yara). Josef their general manager thought that only NDMA and Chlorobenzene were present in the groundwater. I listed about ten other chemicals while advising 100 was a more accurate number than two.

Both CPAC and Woolwich Council went out of their way to be polite and respectful to Chemtura. While this is "nice" and probably the Canadian way it is also disconcerting. This company has (with assistance) poisoned the drinking water of thousands of people. They have hidden behind weak environmental laws and an even weaker enforcement system called the M.O.E.. On top of that they have hired lawyers and consultants to protect themselves from appropriate legal demands to clean up their mess. Kudos are in order to CPAC, the current Woolwich Council and Mayor Todd Cowan. Citizens ask yourselves this question: Why has it taken twenty-three years simply to confront this coverup and scam involving our precious drinking water? For me this confrontaion, albeit polite, and this clear and honest stating of the truth has been long overdue. Provincial, Regional and Municipal governments have been aiding and abetting the polluter since the contamination was discovered in November 1989. Shame on the pack of them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Could the timing be any better? The above title is the same as in today's Waterloo Region Record Editorials Section. As tonite is when Woolwich Council gets to put the finishing touch and vote on the CPAC Resolution before them, the timing of the Record's Editorial is equisite.

The public advisory body have flatly stated that the cleanup is inadequate and is not working. The government's and Chemtura's response to date has been yes it is, trust us. As the Record says that response is inadequate. One engineer (Dr. Gail Krantzberg), one hydrogeologist (David Marks) and one other environmental expert (Ron Campbell) have all cast major doubt on the past and current cleanup plan. Oh and by the way so have I. I have done so publicly, loudly and in writing with specicivity and detail. One media outlet (Elmira Independent) has faithfully recorded and published this over the years. Unfortunately the old Woolwich Council and CPAC were the impediments to change.

Of interest the Record have now categorized Uniroyal/Chemtura as the "primary polluter". This is a step in the right direction as we now know that there are multiple polluters of the drinking water aquifers in Elmira. The Record also correctly state that the municipal Council have broken ranks with the Ministry of the Environment and Chemtura. Our Council want a new and improved deal that actually restores Elmira's drinking water, rather than just going through the motions.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Two very local environmental issues are being adressed tomorrow. The appeal of the BIO-EN M.O.E. Decision starts at 10 am. at Rim Park (Banquet Hall) and the CPAC Resolution will be discussed and voted on at 7 pm. by Woolwich Council in the Council Chambers.

Last Tuesday when CPAC Chair Dan Holt presented the CPAC Resolution to Committee of the Whole he specifically endorsed CPAC's belief that there was a sweetheart deal. He did this without using those words but he did quote from the October 7/91 document by stating: "1) In the settlement Agreement of October 7, 1991 the two parties, Uniroyal/Chemtura and the Ministry of Environment, who were involved in the legal actions each indemnified the other against all "...actions, causes of actions, damages, claims, and demands whatsoever of which both Uniroyal and the Province are currently aware...". Further Dan stated "We, CPAC, feel strongly that this has produced a situation where there is no real oversight regarding the cleanup of contamination of Elmira's drinking water. Neither one of the two parties involved in this agreement holds the other responsible and therefore, there is no real authority to enforce the Control Order(s) governing this cleanup process.". Not surprisingly recently three of the parties to the then ongoing Environmental Appeal Board hearing have all denied any "sweetheart deal" occurred. As they all kept the public, media and UPAC in the dark and the Indemnity/sweetheart deal private then, their denials now aren't too surprising.

At the moment there are six names listed as Delegations for tomorrow evening to speak to Council about the CPAC Resolution. They are Dwight Este and Josef Olejarz of Chemtura, Ron Campbell, David Marks and Dan Holt of CPAC and finally yours truly. It should be very interesting especially as Chemtura were given a Draft of this Resolution prior to the April public CPAC meeting and thus have had considerable time to form their position. These Delegations/discussions should assist those citizens and Councillors who have been unable to attend CPAC meetings over the years.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Both local papers have carried articles about the BIO-EN plant currently approved for Martin's Lane in Elmira. The preliminary Hearing is this Tuesday at 10 am. in the banquet hall in Rim Park, Waterloo. Yes public support would be very helpful on Tuesday to head off any attempt by the proponent to end the appeal quickly.

There is also an excellent letter to the Editor in the Observer (pg. 16) titled "Bio-En situation shows government acts against the public interest". Rick Weber indicates his opinion that government routinely supports big business rather than citizen interests. The Observer article is titled "Twp. seeks "presenter" status at biogas hearings. The Independent article is titled "Township to seek presenter status at biogas hearing". The Observer article above and beyond mentioning the joint issues of odour and truck traffic also mentions that the Township will raise the issue of proper enforcement of rules by the M.O.E.. The history of M.O.E. enforcement of their own rules, here in Elmira, is a sad reflection on their impotence. There will be health issues as a result of significantly increased truck traffic especially for vulnerable segments of Elmira's population. Unfortunately our governments have had a "cost of doing business" attitude towards these issues in the past.

Friday, May 4, 2012


The power of momemtum and the media's assistance therof can be stunning. I will be focusing on two more print mediums today although the sweetheart deal and CPAC's Resolution are also on-line here as well as at the Cambridge Advocate and at the Stop The Stink website.

The Township of Woolwich issued a media Release on Wednesday titled "Council Approves Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) Resolution". The K-W Record, Elmira Independent and Woolwich Observer were already committed to publishing articles about CPAC's Resolution. The title of the Independent front page story is "CPAC seeks review of Chemtura cleanup". There are then two more stories on this subject on pages two and three. Finally the Independent on page four has this Editorial "More funding needed for MOE". Keep clearly in mind that it has been the Elmira Independent through thick and thin who have always covered public CPAC meetings when the rest of the media were AWOL. The Woolwich Observer have weighed in with their story titled "Township backs CPAC call for more action on cleanup"on page three.

Both local papers have picked up the essential elements of CPAC's Resolution. The 2028 dealine for cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers won't happen with the current pump and treat technology. Yours truly publicly has been saying exactly this for the last five years. That and other pronouncements from myself regarding DNAPLS and the sham Elmira cleanup, which I stated publicly, earned me no friends including amongst some of the citizen reps on the old CPAC. Further both papers refer to the Indemnity/Double Indemnity which I call the sweetheart deal. This is the October 7, 1991 private Settlement Agreement between Uniroyal and the M.O.E.. Parties to the Environmental Appeal Board hearing (1991) were given copies but UPAC/CPAC as well as the public and media were not. Finally both newspapers appropriately focus on the necessity of source removal of toxic wastes. Leaving them in the subsurface has been selfserving from Chemtura's financial standpoint and shameful behaviour by the government body supposedly looking out for the environment and citizens. Yes I am referring to our Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.).

The firestorm is merely starting. Vested interests including some surprising ones will come out of the woodwork. It's already started and will be further seen this Tuesday evening in Council Chambers at 7 pm.. Woolwich and Elmira citizens if you want to see professional spin doctoring and environmental gobblygook come out for the show. See you there.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


For the past five years I've felt like a voice in the wilderness. Dr. Henry Regier retired from CPAC partially due to hearing challenges, Fred Hager was experiencing the begining of serious health challenges (recently told he's left us) and Rich Clausi was intentionally excluded by the old CPAC's insistence on public daytime meetings. A long difficult year and a half later and boy are things changing!

Today's Waterloo Region Record on the front page carrys this story: "Elmira water cleanup faltering, township fears". The old Woolwich Council with the exception of St. Jacobs Councillor Mark Bauman was unceremoniously dumped in late October 2010. Environmental issues were front and center including multiple gravel pits, BIO-EN for Martin's Lane and an air release of chemicals three weeks before the election by Chemtura Canada. Current Mayor Todd Cowan and the new Council made many commitments to environmental progress, some of which are proving challenging. Regarding the Mayor's diplomatic attempt to appropriately bounce the old Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC), he has made numerous mistakes with this new Committee. That being said and as I'm one of the major mistakes he made, dumping me without consulting his new CPAC, nevertheless I will give credit where credit is due. Mayor Todd Cowan picked some really excellent new CPAC members and the proof is in the pudding. Despite everything they've gone through in the last year (1 dismissal, 3 resignations, 3 new members) plus a whole lot more, this CPAC has come through with shining colours. Todd but for your winning the Mayor's seat this would not have happened.

Quoting Dr. Gail Krantzberg in today's Record "They need to change the cleanup strategy if they are going to be able to restore groundwater to safe levels by 2028. It won't happen with pump-and-treat." Quoting Dr Dan Holt CPAC Chair "There is no real responsibility. Which makes it difficult to have any kind of authority in the cleanup process.". Dan is referring specifically to the October 7, 1991 Settlement Agreement a.k.a "sweetheart deal" between Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment. Yours truly is also quoted by the Record namely " "I'm ecstatic," said Alan Marshall, an environmental watchdog who has long criticized Chemtura and the Ministry of the Environment over the cleanup. "It is going to, I trust, totally turn around the cleanup." ". It appears as if the days of Chemtura and their friends spouting whatever psuedo science and gibberish they want, and getting it by CPAC, are finished.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Well in this world we rarely get everything we want. That being said many members of the BFCC (Biofuel Citizens Committee) were feeling doubly disappointed when Woolwich Council firstly turned down the opportunity to appeal the M.O.E.'s decision to accept the Martin's lane location and then seemed reluctant to give even moral support to the BFCC and their appeal. Last night brought some needed good news to the BFCC. Firstly Dan Kennaly (Staff) spoke to Council about various options other than full blown party status at the upcoming Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT). He and Staff recommended Presenter Status to Council which would allow them to continue to express their serious concerns about the location without needing to spend Township funds on legal or other expert help. Council rapidly voted in favour of this proposal and made it obvious that they would make their support of the BFCC's appeal; clear to the ERT. I trust that the BFCC will use this Councillor support combined with the 85 person protest from two weeks ago to enlighten the ERT that BIO-EN's presence on Martin's Lane is widely unpopular in Elmira.


Dr. Dan Holt, Chair of CPAC, introduced CPAC's grroundbreaking Resolution to Council (Committee of the Whole) last evening in the Woolwich Council Chambers. This is the Resolution that CPAC had passed unanimously last Thursday evening (April 26/12). Above and beyond the significance of CPAC advising Woolwich Council that the responsibility and financial liability for the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers rests with the Province, via the Ministry of the Environment, is CPAC's declaration of government mismanagement. They have done this both in the Resolution itself as well as in Dan Holt's introduction last evening. The Resolution states the following truths: 1) The 2028 Elmira aquifers cleanup will not happen 2) Uniroyal/Chemtura chemical contamination is still leaving their site 3) Pump and treat (hydraulic containment) technology on its' own is inadequate 4) The number one priority must be the removal of source areas of contamination still on the Chemtura site in Elmira.

Dan Holt's introduction last evening consisted of his presenting background as well as reading the Resolution to Council (Comm. of the Whole). In his background introduction he quoted part of the October 7, 1991 Settlement Agreement also known as the "sweetheart deal". Dan used the word Indemnity and Indemnified while avoiding the inflammatory expression "sweetheart deal". I choose to be more blunt as I feel the term more accurately expresses both the intent and result of their Agreement. Dan also stated "We, CPAC, feel strongly that this has produced a situation where there is no real oversight regarding the cleanup of contamination of Elmira's drinking water.". Finally Dan also stated that in regards to the chosen date of 2028 "CPAC feels that this date is artificial and truthfully, when the double indemnification clause is considered, it is meaningless.".

Woolwich Council (Comm. of the whole) passed CPAC's Resolution unanimously. This is an incredible step forward from the sham and smokescreen that has been ongoing for the last two decades plus. This is a polite but nevertheless incredible repudiation of the cosy arrangement (sweetheart deal) between the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Chemtura Canada. It is also a repudiation of, and hence will draw criticism from, Conestoga Rovers the long time consultants to Chemtura, the old CPAC members and even possibly past Council members.

Let there be no mistake, Woolwich Council deserve a ton of credit here. There will be pushback from vested interests. Both Council and CPAC have passed an incredibly confrontational Resolution. It is confrontational not by its language or its tone but by its honesty. Mayor Todd Cowan handpicked very incredible citizens to sit on this Committee (CPAC) and deserves credit for so doing. Next Tuesday (May 8) at 7 pm. Woolwich Council formally must endorse the ratification given last night by Committee of the Whole in order for it to proceed. I intend to be there.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Two weeks ago 85 citizens of Woolwich Township both came out and protested outside the Council building and then went inside to hear their reps speak to Council. The issue was the proposed Bio-En location on Martin's Lane in Elmira. Tonite at 6 pm. is Committee of the Whole of Woolwich Council. Dr. Dan Holt, Chair of CPAC, will be presenting a very powerful unanimous Resolution from CPAC to them for their ratification. Hopefully this will be followed next Tuesday (7 pm.) with Woolwich Council formally approving and ratifying this Resolution. It will then be passed on to the Regional and provincial governments. It will also go to the Environmental Commissioner as well as to the AMO (Assoc'n of Municipalities of Ontario) for their support.

There will be parties who oppose this initiative of CPAC. They will include of course Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (M.O.E.). Unfortunately there will be more who do their best work anonymously behind the scenes. Some of the groups who were parties at the Environmental Appeal Board hearings in Elmira over twenty years ago have their own axes to grind. They had knowledge of the "sweetheart deal" between the M.O.E. and Uniroyal and have governed themselves in their best interests ever since. The Region of Waterloo comes to mind as once they received their water pipeline into Elmira, they denied other sources of contamination to Elmira's drinking water and generally played defence for the status quo.

Any and all citizens are welcome tonite in the Woolwich Council Chambers at 6 pm. and or next week , same place at 7 pm. This Resolution is a gamechanger with respect to the cleanup of the Elmira aquifers.