Traffic is the number one concern for Hillsdale residents hearing details of Simcoe County’s proposed waste management facility.
The tiny hamlet, located about 15 kilometres north of Barrie, is home to one of seven sites short-listed for two new facilities - an organics processing facility and a materials management facility. About 50 people attended a public meeting Monday afternoon at the Hillsdale Community Centre to learn more. Another session was held at the same location last night.
“Highway 93 has become exceedingly busy and exceedingly dangerous,” long-time Hillsdale resident Gwen Wasyluk said after hearing the presentation. “There is enough traffic on Highway 93 now. Seriously, we don’t need one more truck. It’s dangerous. Everybody’s so impatient … even when they are going through our little town.”
Wasyluk has lived in Hillsdale for 33 years and she is concerned about the number of trucks that would transport contents from green bins and blue boxes to the site daily.
County Warden Gerry Marshall welcomed the questions and input from residents.
"I'm a big fan of organics (programs) and doing the right thing," Marshall says. "We have to take organics out of the garbage and this (facility) will allow us to control our own destiny."
A series of 10 sessions were held in the townships of Clearview, Oro-Medonte and Springwater, which have properties identified on the short-list of potential sites currently being considered. Information presented during the sessions included details about the two proposed facilities, - one to process organics and the other a sorting facility for material collected in recycling bins, an overview of the siting process, and details about the short-list of sites.
Currently, organics are trucked to a processing plant in Hamilton and Simcoe County's blue box recycling is shipped to a privately-owned facility in Barrie.
Marshall attended all 10 and attendance averaged 50 or 60 residents each time. He says building facilities in Simcoe County offers cost savings and local control.
"After nine sessions, I can say that we are a lot smarter than we were at the zero hour," he said after the afternoon session. "We need your eyes, your visions, your thoughts and concerns. You have the local knowledge that is so important."
Input from the public sessions will be included in a report to Council recommending the preferred site for the facilities. The report is expected in early 2016.
Details about the proposed facilities including siting methodology, anticipated costs, completed meetings and reports can be found at www.simcoe.ca/opf and www.simcoe.ca/mmf. Feedback can be provided through the website.