Liquid Waste Treatment Facility

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London is examining how best to deal with hauled liquid waste. And although the preferred solution appears to be a leachate pre-treatment facility adjacent to the W12A Landfill, there is a lack of consensus about proper procedure.

Planning Committee debated this issue last Monday. Members struggled with the question of whether the area ought to be rezoned, with Councillor Caranci taking the position that “We’re running this as a business…It’s a revenue generator…It should be zoned industrial.” The area is currently designated for agricultural land use and staff has recommended that it be rezoned as “a Special Provision Agricultural Zone.” I wonder if that’s political goobley-gook for ‘commercial activity that’s being disguised as something else’?

Councillor Branscombe appeared to struggle with understanding the difference in zoning designations. Unfortunately, I struggled in hearing that part of the discussion because of the terrible sound quality in the Council chamber. However, I did manage to capture this one of her questions: “If we zone it Industrial, who knows where that’s going to end up?”

For me, an even more interesting exchange occurred around the propriety of making any rezoning decision before an Area Plan has been completed. Readers of this blog know that proper process is of significant importance to me, and that it was the subject of one of my submissions to the Governance Task Force.

Members of the committee held opposing opinions on whether or not the rezoning decision ought to be considered prior to the completion of an Area Plan, with Councillor Caranci and Controller Polhill arguing in favour of waiting.

Controller Polhill wanted to know “The Area Study won’t be completed until the end of the year so why rezone this now?” and made the excellent point that “We tell other people “If your Area Plan isn’t done we won’t rezone it”… We don’t have to follow the rules but everybody else does.”

In the words of Controller Polhill, “It’s really funny because Roger and I are on the other side of the fence this time.”

It was particularly difficult for me to listen to Controller Barber’s attempted justification for pushing ahead with the rezoning prior to the Area Study completion, but in the end the committee made the correct decision to refer the rezoning matter back to the Planning Committee along with the Area Plan.

On a somewhat related matter, it was revealed that a draft compensation policy for area residents who’ve been affected by the continued operation and expansion of W12 will be coming forward in 6-8 weeks.

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