Statement by Tim Gray, Executive Director

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – Environmental Defence is calling for the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to reject an application by York1 Environmental Waste Solutions to install and expand a dump site in Dresden, Ontario due to the risk of severe harm to the Sydenham River and species at risk that live in it. The proposed site is directly connected to the Sydenham River, a well documented biological treasure home to at least 33 species at risk. Some of these species are found nowhere else in Canada or remain in only a few other locations globally.  

The dump site could cause devastating impacts within the Sydenham River’s eastern branch – its most biodiverse area. The proposed dump site is located adjacent to Molly’s Creek, a naturally-fed, spring-origin creek that flows into the nearby Sydenham River. If the dump is built, toxic substances and wastewater runoff from the dump could leach into Molly’s Creek and eventually transfer into the Sydenham. This will contaminate critical habitats and kill some of Ontario’s rarest species such as the Spiny softshell turtle and Salamander mussel, pushing them closer towards the brink of extinction.

Residents and community leaders in nearby Dresden are strongly opposed to the dump for a number of reasons, including its potential ecological impacts:

Kait Pataki, Dresden resident, said:

“York1’s proposal to put a mega dump one kilometer from the heart of our community is very concerning to me for many reasons, especially the potential harm that would be caused to endangered species. The land where this dump will reside is known to have runoff drain into the creeks and rivers that are home to several species at risk. The lack of policy and ability to enforce such policies to keep these species safe is very alarming. There is no sanction, financial penalty or forfeiture that could possibly mediate the risk of irreversible damage to our ecosystem. Dresden and Chatham-Kent as a whole pride themselves on the amazing natural amenities and wildlife it has to offer, it would be such a disgrace to our community if this dump is approved.” 

Steven Peacock and Stefan Premdas, Dresden residents and members of Dresden C.A.R.E.D, said:

“The Ontario government will have broken their own rules if they allow a huge landfill/ transfer facility and an eventual mega dump landfill to be set up 1 kilometer from the town where approximately 2900 tax paying voters live and thrive in this agricultural and ecological paradise. Dresden is home to a wide variety of species at risk that inhabit Molly’s creek and the Sydenham River. If this dump is developed many, if not all, of these species will be wiped out” 

Some of the species at risk that would be directly affected by the Dresden dump include: 

  • Eastern spiny softshell turtle (endangered)
  • Blanding’s turtle (threatened)
  • Pugnose minnow (threatened)
  • Salamander mussel (endangered & globally vulnerable)* 
  • Fawnsfoot mussel (endangered)
  • Eastern foxsnake (endangered)

*The East Sydenham River has the only known population in Canada

Background Information

  • York1 Environmental Waste Solutions Ltd filed a proposal with the Ministry of the Environment to revive and expand a dormant landfill on Irish School Road in Dresden, Ontario directly connected to the Eastern Sydenham River.
  • The subject property has not been used in 50 years as an approved industrial waste processing/transfer site and still holds existing Environmental Compliance Approval’s (ECA) for a 35-hectare waste disposal site with an 8-hectare landfilling area and a 0.8-hectare waste processing site.
  • The application is for an amendment to the existing waste processing site ECA for a 0.8-hectare waste processing site to be used for the storage, transfer and processing of non-hazardous solid waste. The proposed amendment to the waste processing facility is an increase in the area of the waste processing site to 25 hectares and to allow a maximum daily receiving rate of 6,000 tonnes per day of non-hazardous solid waste and 1,000 tonnes per day of residual waste for final disposal on an annual average basis.
  • York1 has also purchased 150 acres* of surrounding farmland for expansion.

*A correction was made to the above release on March 20, 2024 to reflect the additional land that York1 purchased for expansion purposes. 

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Carolyn Townend, Environmental Defence,