Contamination from landfill costs taxpayers $947,970

Google Map image of the Matilda Landfill on Seibert Road. (Screen Capture/Google Inc.)

MORRISBURG – When a landfill is found to be contaminating surrounding land something has to be done about it.

Based on the results of the delineation study, provided to the Ministry of Environment in 2020, the Municipality of South Dundas is required to create a Contamination Attenuation Zone.

“At the Matilda Landfill, the adjacent properties abutting the landfill are privately owned and therefore require the municipality to acquire the lands to register a CAZ on the properties title. Purchasing the property from the private landowners is a best practice as contaminant levels in a CAZ may impair the current and future uses of the zone and the property’s value. Since the Municipality is responsible for contaminating the lands, it must also be responsible for controlling and preventing further contamination through remediation measures,” said Danielle Watson, South Dundas director of environmental services in her April 26th report to council.

The properties purchased by South Dundas belong to three separate individuals.

While the market value of the property was listed at $12,500 according to an appraisal firm in February of 2021, staff with legal representation entered into property acquisition negotiation and council finalized negotiations with landowners for a total of $947,970. Council approved the purchase at the April 26th meeting.

“Landfills and garbage are extremely expensive,” said South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner. “We need for our residents to have this information so they are aware of the difficult decisions councils have to make without having much choice.”

“Hopefully this is just another chapter. It’s going to be fixed and it’s behind us,” said South Dundas councillor Lloyd Wells.

“When you own a landfill you have to do what you have to do,” said South Dundas councillor Donald Lewis.

“This lands in our laps, and I commend this council for taking the bull by the horns and dealing with this,” said South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan. “We have to own this land and we’ve stepped up to the plate and addressed it.”

Until Monday’s meeting this matter was handled in camera, so South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds assured the public that council had good and thorough discussions about having to purchase this land and the price they had to pay. “We have contaminated someone else’s land that we now must purchase,” said Byvelds.

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