RE: Editorial “IKEA, Me and Dupree” (February/March 2007 edition)
I read your recent editorial about IKEA with great interest. Ikea may be doing right by the environment, but recently it did not do right by workplace health and safety. At the end of 2006, Ikea was hit with an $80,000 fine after pleading guilty, as an employer, to failing to ensure a load was stored in a manner so as to prevent tipping, collapsing or falling, as required by Ontario’s occupational health and safety legislation. (See the Nov/Dec 2006 issue of EHSjustice newsletter, “IKEA slapped with $80,000 fine.”) The accident resulted in a worker breaking his leg. Even worse was the fact that IKEA pleaded guilty to failing to preserve the scene of the accident and then the Burlington store manager saying the store was unaware that leaving the scene untouched was mandated. Only now has the store made changes to its health and safety procedures.
Maybe IKEA’s claims are “too good to be true.”
Lidia Lubka, Editor
RE: Website news item “Ontario sites short-listed for thermal treatment plant”
Yes, the proposed East Gwillimbury site [for a proposed waste-to-energy plant] is in general proximity to the Halton Recycling Facility but, I fail to understand the irony in this fact. The proposed site was identified from the application of a set of rigid screening and comparative criteria developed in consultation with potentially impacted stakeholders. The lands were originally identified, as were others, because they were vacant industrial and potentially surplus regionally-owned lands. To imply that the identification of these lands directly related in any way to the locality of the Halton Recycling facility is misleading.
Further, to establish an implied direct and negative relationship should the two plants operate in proximity to each other at the same time, I suspect, is not grounded by supporting technical study and therefore is premature and could very well be false. It is this type of misleading and fabricated press that frequently and unnecessarily bogs down environmental assessment processes in Ontario. To date, this had not been identified as an issue but one with which I now expect we can prepare to deal.
Finally, a more thorough article would have noted that the site is located adjacent to the region’s new materials recycling facility and that potential sites located in Clarington are in proximity to infrastructure and industrial uses such as wastewater pollution control plants and power plants. Indeed, an underlying philosophy associated with the overall siting process was that a thermal treatment facility is most appropriately located in proximity to existing or designated urban industrial lands versus the past practice of locating disposal on agricultural resource lands. The misdirection of your news item on the Durham-York’s siting process is not in keeping with the type of reporting I have come to expect from your magazine in recent years. I trust that your upcoming article on the Halton Recycling facility will not draw similar relations, unless of course there is some factual backing to report. If so, I can assure you the Durham-York study team would like to be the first to know and respond.
[Editor’s reply: Thanks for your comments and I agree with you. Actually, the website news item was adapted from a news story from a mainstream media source in the Newmarket area where the controversy around the Halton Recycling plant has been a big news item. In our adaptation we should have edited out that local bias which was irrelevant to the larger story concerning the site selection process. You will likely enjoy my editorial about Halton Recycling in this edition. — ed.]