Toronto Taxpayers to See Red Over Miller’s Green Lane Landfill Purchase

O’l man McCaig (Green Lane’s founder) is seeing nothing but green. To many, he has the reputation of being a little excitable; to others, eccentric. But look who laughing now. Indeed a country boy can survive, and indeed age and treachery in this case has overcome youth and vigor.

Miller’s waste disposal policys have been more than a failure. The devil is in the details, and the press are missing the extent of his historic major failures.

You see, you have to go back a few years to get the whole picture…

In 1988 the city, in its greed and spearheaded by the chair of the waste committee Lindsay Luby (a future supporter of Miller), increased the disposal rates at Keele Valley Landfill. The decision was ill thought out and lacked business sense. The yearly increases were dramatic, so the private industry adapted and started shipping waste to the United States.

The city at the time had a $250 million cash fund from the positive cash flow of these operations. The loss of the private business resulted in the depletion of this fund. The city, during this heyday, spent significant money on building 9 transfer stations. But the greed and lack of business acumen in setting the tipping fees left these facitlities being badly underutilzed, and these losses rolled on for several years.

The city’s waste management executive changed, and Angelo rose to the top. In his role as chief advisor to council he sought to lower these rates to compete with the growing private transfer station industry. Eventually the city recaptured much the private waste hauling market.

Subsequently, Miller is elected mayor. Shortly thereafter he jacked the tipping fees back up again so the price sensitive waste haulers took their business back to the private transfer stations. This single decision by Miller as it stands today represents a loss of over $500 million (half a BILLION) in revenue and counting.

Poor ol’ Angelo gets fired by Miller, after he sucks a large legitimate hauler to commit to truck the waste state-side. The contract was an open and fair tender resulting in a great rate for the Toronto taxpayers. The hauler tried everything to get out of the contract. But at the end of the day, Miller fires this competent manager of the city waste division for publicly stating to the press that the city should look into incineration aka waste-to-energy as an option.

Incineration, or waste-to-energy facilities, are used throughout the world and the technology continues to advance. Our premier this very week publiclly stated that Ontario should look into this technology. But the blinders around Millers head continue to prevent him from even considering this option. Landfilling waste is the only option Milller will consider.

So along comes the Green Lane deal.

Looking back, Green Lane Landfill opened in 1978. Long before the present safer landfill technolgy was developed. Green Lane has appeared in front the the MOE (Ministry of the Environment) many times for a variety of violations, and also in front of the environmental appeal board many times. It’s all there on the MEO website – take a look.

Neighbors have reported poor drinking water. Farmers in the area have reported problems. Much of this can be attibuted to the the dated engineering of this landfill. These compliants resulted in the threat of potentially closing Green Lane.

Through the political moral suasion of campaign contributions to the current Liberal party, this imminent closure was delayed. When the Minister of the Environment granted Green Lane an extension, the London community was outraged.

Clearly, Miller has purchased an old and out of date landfill. The future financial fallout in dealing with the potential for leachate run off from the old landfill to the surrounding area is a cost that will surely be severe.

As with the aforementioned $500 million loss that is growing, no one mentions the fact that before you factor in all these costs from buying a dated landfill, the finanicial carrying cost of the loan, the future capping, closure maintenance, legal battles and on and on, you have to really examine the initial purchase price versus the landfill capacity. For at the end of the day, David Miller has committed the taxpayers of Toronto to the most expensive landfill purchase in the history of the world, when looked at on a cost per ton basis. With regards to capacity, since Green Lane opened in ‘78, Toronto has filled three landfills (Beare Rd., Brock Rd., and Keele Valley), all of which where bigger then Green Lane in its entirety.

He did this all in haste 30 days before the last election, clearly motivated by political timing. He then refused to divulge the deal to his fellow elected officials, and to slap them in the face, presented this 500 page deal hours before council was to decide on the issue.

As a result the, taxpayers of Toronto will be seeing nothing but red with Miller’s purchase of Green Lane.

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