Ontario Construction News staff writer
The County of Simcoe has lost a $2 million provincial grant due to construction delays at the Environmental Resource Recovery Centre in Springwater Township.
Funds allocated to the project in 2014 from the Continuous Improvement Fund have been rescinded by the province, county councillors heard last week.
According to a staff report, the $2.2 million grant was contingent on construction starting on the controversial project by November 2020. The facility had to be operational by the end of 2023. To remain eligible for CIF funding, engineering and site preparation would have had to start by April 30, 2021.
However, three appeals have submitted by neighbouring landowners, including one represented by the Canadian Environmental Law Association, in January 2019 and are now being addressed through the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
A lengthy delay was caused by a judicial challenge that had been made by one of the appellants to an interim decision of the LPAT (Local Appeal and Planning Tribunal),” Jen Slykhuis, special projects supervisor with the county, wrote in a report to council.
“As a result, the county was not able to meet its obligations and will not be able to have the project completed and operational by the end of 2023.
“The lengthy delays caused by successive adjournments in dealing with the Township and County OPAs and Township Zoning bylaw, and the Judicial Review filed by one of the appellants with respect to the interim decision of the LPAT has resulted in the County losing grants for this necessary infrastructure,” Jen Slykhuis, special projects supervisor wrote in a report to council.
The Environmental Resource Recovery Centre (ERRC) project was first proposed by the County of Simcoe in 2010 and is one of the key ways the county plans to deal with its own waste locally and cut down the cost of exporting.
The plans include a facility to consolidate and transfer recyclable materials to other locations. It would also include an organics processing facility to convert organics into compost, fertilizer, and/or fuel.
A tentative LPAT date is in September 2021.