CFN– Freeholder Hugo Rodrigues is spouting off about Water Meters for Cornwall in a recent editorial. Frankly I’m not sure Mr. Rodrigues even lives in Cornwall. The Poobah from the Canadian Association of Journalists was dropped in to helm the newspaper for Sun Media and after helping improve the paper is starting to come out with policy papers like this.
Frankly in a city like Cornwall Ontario there is no need for water meters. We have excess capacity which we should use to benefit the tax payers.
Rates should be fair and accommodate the needs of the residents of our city and have some extra built in to support current and future infrastructure.
What is odd that Mr. Rodrigues lack of real concern or knowledge about the real issue facing residents when it comes to water and that is leakage from Big Ben, our dump at the centre of our city into our waters. A dump that is alleged to not have a membrane which means leachate entering our Bed Rock.
“In the early 1970s, Domtar persuaded the City of Cornwall to permit the dumping of its paper mill waste (sludge, bark and lime dregs) behind a shopping mall in the middle of the city. Part of the dump was sodded over while dumping continued, and Domtar funded a “bunny” ski hill there, known as “Big Ben“.
By the mid-1990s this Domtar landfill was rapidly filling up with sludge, bark, and lime dregs from the Cornwall kraft and fine paper mill. The problem was exacerbated when new waste water regulations required the Cornwall mill to also remove lignin and starch—formerly discharged into the St. Lawrence River—from its waste water. In response, Domtar began selling dewatered mill waste to Cornwall and area residents labeled as “Soil Conditioner”.
For some five years—until high levels of fecal coliforms and fecal streptococcus were discovered in the waste—this “Soil Conditioner” was sold for home garden use and was used by local farmers as fertilizer. Domtar at first claimed that their process could not have contributed e-coli and fecal coli from human feces. The company later revealed to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment+ (MOE) that some toilets and urinals at the mill connected with the mill’s waste water treatment process, rather than with the city’s sanitary sewers. Moreover, a stormwater system also emptied into the sludge generating system.
The paper mill site (now a brownfield+) was sold to Paris Holdings of Cornwall in 2006 with undisclosed terms and covenants relating to liability and clean up of soil and water affected, for over 120 years, by mill and human waste. Domtar still maintains control of the adjacent dump which is the source of a leachate+ plume polluting ground water between it and the St. Lawrence River (with the City of Cornwall Water Purification Plant in between). The dump which is officially named, the “Big Ben Landfill And Recreation Area”, currently receives demolition waste and asbestos from the decommissioned paper mill.
In 2007 Domtar Corporation made a request to the MOE to additionally allow the dumping of soil at “Big Ben”, contaminated with coal tar and bitumen waste, from another Dominion Tar and Chemical Co. Limited site in Cornwall. This manufacturing facility at 7th St. W. and Cumberland Street in Cornwall produced “bituminous fibre” pipe, from 1929 to 1976 known variously as; Cornwall “Standard” Fibre Conduit (1929–38), Cornwall Nocrete Conduit (1938–44), and finally No-co-rode Co. Ltd. – Fibre Conduit Division (1944–76).”
That is soil from where our new Wal-Mart Super store is being built.
Cornwall does not enjoy a positive environmental reputation as a result of decades of industrial pollution in the city, the legacy of which is a riverfront contaminated by mercury, zinc, lead, and copper, soil contaminated by coal tar and byproducts, and most evidently, “BigBen“: a 45-acre (180,000 m2), 80 metre tall dumpsite within the city filled with wood bark, paper mill sludge, demolition waste andasbestos.
In September 2008, over public opposition and in spite of Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) reports indicating off site leachateimpact from the dump and the likelihood of runoff to the St. Lawrence River, the MOE permitted additional dumping at the “Big Ben” site of creosote and bitumin contaminated soils from Domtar’s former No-co-rode Ltd. site.
Although the area is touted as recreational, it is off-limits until winter when the waste is covered and the odours are subdued. It is then used as a ski hill.
For years, the industrial emissions in the Cornwall area, fuelled public health concern about respiratory disease and cancer. In 1995 Health Canada reported the rate of hospitalization for asthma was approximately double that of cities such as Hamilton, Sudbury andWindsor.
From a CFN viewer:
No it didn’t. But the clown that was in charge of shipping all that contaminated coal tar from Cumberland St site was in the freeholder telling the community not to worry because BIG BEN had a membrane installed when it was first developed. I’m showing you that the MOE and the Cornwall public was mislead. And there are alot of toxic chemicals buried in that hill. Not just from the Paper Mill site! And yes test holes where drilled in 2001 and 2002 and confirmed that the leachate had finally reached bedrock and the St Lawrence river.
Much of this came out in opposition to the Benson Centre location which is where run off would occur and where test wells for Big Ben used to be.
From a Freeholder story:
Mayor Bob Kilger and councillors Grant, Carr, Gardiner, Denis Thibault, Elaine MacDonald and Bernadette Clement voted in favour while councillors Mark MacDonald and Kim Baird were opposed. Coun. Andre Rivette was absent, however he has spoken against the Domtar woodyard site in the past.
Iqaluit’s dump developed an internal fire that cost million’s to treat; but its dump was well outside of the town. Cornwall’s dump in right near the Seaway International Bridge, a densely populated residential area and has the Benson Centre as a neighbor.
So Mr. Rodrigues, before we add a layer of cost to taxpayers to have Water Meters maybe, just maybe, you should do some homework on the real water crisis facing Cornwall residents and the area?
As for some of the numbers you cited in your editorial, they can be adjusted as necessary without adding meters. People with pools should pay a bit more although that could also be resolved in their municipal levy. There are simpler solutions than adding another meter to people’s already over taxed and over burdened lives.
Maybe where you live there are meters everywhere, but is that any reason to bring them to Cornwall?
This writer thinks not.
What do you think Cornwall and CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.
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