Local composting advocate, Cathy Nesbitt - creator of the company, Cathy's Crawly Composters, and "worm guru" to hundreds of Ontario school children - wants to keep an open mind about Walker Industries' proposed composting plant on County Rd. 27.
That's why she decided to join the Community Liaison Committee and take a tour of Walker Industries' Thorold site, on November 1 - pointing out that membership on the Dunkerron site Community Liaison Committee (CLC) "does not necessarily indicate support for the proposed compost site. Some of the members are neighbours with a vested interest to learn about what is planned."
A handicapped-accessible shuttle bus left from Hwy. 9 and 27 at 8 a.m., for a day that included a tour of the biosolids facility, composting facility, scale house and residential drop-off, existing landfill, new landfill and quarry operation in Niagara Region.
The Thorold composting site opened in 2001, with Walker Industries initially processing 20% of Niagara Region's "source separated organics." Recently, the percentage was increased to 40% - with a successful bid in 2008 to manage 100% of the Region's compost using a new GORE system.
The existing open windrows at Thorold have been "condensed" while the $12 million GORE System is under construction - a situation that tour organizers admitted has resulted in piles that "are more odourous than normal", and "a good opportunity for the CLC to experience the 'worst case scenario' in terms of smell."
The company is proposing the construction of a "receiving building", to take the incoming waste, and notes that with the 8-week GORE system, the windrows are repeatedly covered, fed with pumped-in air, and then moved - a process that reportedly keeps odors at a minimum.
In the meeting that followed, Committee members identified traffic as a key concern, as up to 40 dump trucks per day are expected to bring in up to 40,000 tonnes of organic waste per, year from Simcoe County and the GTA, and remove finished compost. They were advised that a traffic study is being completed this month.
The Bradford West Gwillimbury facility would utilize the GORE technology on about 20 acres of the 80+ acre site – the remainder could stay in agricultural production, Nesbitt Says. "I would encourage people to learn about the compost facility and make an informed choice."