Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I've certainly stated that our local Woolwich Councils generally do not have much to be proud of in regards to the lack of full cleanup of the Uniroyal/Chemtura site here in Elmira. Recently at a TAG meeting it was suggested that certain environmental criteria are more likely to come into play when properties are being sold and titles transferred. It was also explained that this was because banks and mortgage holders would not lend money for the purchase of contaminated properties and their accompanying liabilities. At that point another TAG member suggested that the contaminated properties in the downstream floodplain may have not triggered cleanups because they are primarily owned by Old Order Mennonites who are less likely to sell and more likely to hand their farms down to their children.

Regarding property values in the rest of Elmira I was amazed back in the very early 90's that there seemed to be absolutely no effect on real estate prices. To this day I don't think anyone in Elmira has lost money due to any alleged property devaluation based upon Elmira's well known contamination, primarily from Uniroyal Chemical. Whether Council intervention and go slow (glacial) and quietly behaviour has assisted this or not I do not know. Whether Council's avoidance of confrontation of either Chemtura Canada and the Ministry of Environment has helped avoid property value losses I do not know. At the same time I do not believe the efforts of the last Council which were far less tolerant of Chemtura/M.O.E. behaviour, has in any way slowed property inflation. Our current Council took a symbolic and more action by posting warning signs along the creek. I don't believe that that in any way affected real estate prices in Elmira.

A friend and colleague here in Elmira, Richard Clausi, has often suggested that the only way to seriously get the majority of Elmira residents up in arms environmentally, would be if half of them woke up one morning to find the other half had died during the night courtesy of Chemtura fugitive air emissions. I suspect that it would take something similar to negatively affect property values and that is a good thing. It does not however excuse Woolwich Council's lack of action over the last thirty years. It seems, granted in hindsight, that property values are highly resistant to degradation based upon environmental factors, even serious ones.

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