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Oxford MPP introduces bill giving municipalities right to approve landfills in their communities

Oxford’s MPP is stepping up the fight against unwanted landfills in Ontario.

A private member’s bill introduced in the legislature by Ernie Hardeman would, if adopted, give municipalities the right to refuse new landfills within their borders.

The bill comes in the wake of a local battle against Walker Environmental’s proposed mega-landfill site in Oxford County that would take in Toronto-area trash.

“We believe that landfills should only go where they’re welcome,” said Hardeman, a Progressive Conservative MPP and former cabinet minister.

Southwestern Ontario is home to some of the largest landfills in the province and has been a frequent battleground over trash exports, especially from the Greater Toronto Area.

Waste companies can now propose, develop and operate new landfill sites without the agreement of affected municipalities, though they must have provincial approval to proceed.

Hardeman said his bill’s intent isn’t to stop the business of landfills, but to ensure they’re not forced on areas that don’t want them.

“If you want to build a casino, you need a willing host. If you want a nuclear storage facility, you need to have a willing host. And yet, you put a landfill in a community, you don’t,” he said.

“That doesn’t make any sense to me . . . Why would they be exempt?”

Ingersoll Mayor Ted Comiskey and Zorra Township Coun. Marcus Ryan were on hand in Toronto to speak in favour of Hardeman’s bill as it was introduced in the legislature.

“Ontarians are tired of the provincial government unilaterally imposing everything from wind farms to landfill sites onto local communities,” Comiskey said.

“This bill would give us the right to say yes or no to these kinds of projects.”

Ryan said the legislation would potentially help any community outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas.

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