According to an article in the Globe & Mail newspaper by reporter Joe Friesen, the operators of the Vaughan waste-transfer station that burned for more than two weeks in October are being investigated again after the province’s environment ministry said they failed to comply with a cleanup order.
A director’s order was issued after the fire that called for a minimum of 1,500 tonnes of waste to be removed from the site every week to bring it in line with provincial regulations. The site was approved to hold only 1,500 tonnes, but waste was stockpiled to more than 13,000 tonnes when the fire broke out. From November 6 to 14, only 465 tonnes was removed from the site, according to ministry spokesman John Steele.
The site is operated by 310 Waste Ltd. That company and several associated parties already face six charges laid under the Environmental Protection Act last year related to the storage of excessive amounts of waste. Robert Sansone, a director of 310 Waste Ltd., has filed an appeal against the director’s order to reduce the waste pile to 1,500 tonnes by December 13, and has asked for a procedural stay that would allow the company to ignore the provisions of the order while its appeal is heard by the Environmental Review Tribunal.
Sansone wouldn’t comment on the investigation but said the ministry is blocking his efforts to sell the site to a buyer willing to pay for the cleanup.
Sansone was quoted saying, "I’ve found the people who want to come in and do the cleanup. These guys are ready to come in and run this place according to the certificate of approval."
Dianne Saxe, a lawyer who represents clients interested in purchasing the site, said she met with the ministry last month but has not yet received a formal response regarding a potential sale. The crux of the matter, she said, is whether the ministry is willing to reinstate the certificate of approval after the site has been cleaned up — if not, the multimillion-dollar deal would not be a sound investment for her clients.
Vaughan Mayor Michael Di Biase said the first priority is the cleanup. Once that is done, he’s prepared to consider new proposals for the site.