Statement by Tim Gray, Executive Director

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – Late on Friday, March 15th, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Andrea Khanjin announced that she has designated York1’s proposed dump site in Dresden, Ontario for a comprehensive Environmental Assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act. This is a good first step by the Ontario government.

But it is not enough.

The proposed dump site would be 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 reach the Sydenham. This would contaminate critical habitats and threaten dozens of Ontario’s rarest threatened and endangered species such as the Spiny softshell turtle and Salamander mussel, pushing them closer towards the brink of extinction. Contamination of the river could also have impacts beyond those indicated for species at risk. Game fish in the river and in the Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie watershed could consume chemical contaminants leached from the dump. Through bioaccumulation, those contaminants could make their way through the ecosystem and into human food.

Residents of Dresden would also be significantly impacted by the proposed development as the site is located just 1 kilometer from town. York1 is proposing the waste processing facility be open 24 hours and day, seven days a week with up to 700 trucks a day driving through the community. As a result from the massive increase in truck traffic, the chemical air quality (e.g. NOx, CO, CO2) and particulate matter pollution would have severe impacts on the health and wellbeing of the people of Dresden and Chatham-Kent.

The presence of unique species at risk in the area and significant risks to air and water quality, coupled with a proposal that is out of scale and incompatible with the local community, leaves only one option moving forward: that the Ontario government pulls the plug on this proposal.

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,