Residents of Thornhill write to Markham Council in support of German Mills Meadow & Natural Habitat to be included into Markham Park System and to say final NO to aerobic bioreactor in the greenspace near residential houses

We encourage you to write your own personal letter to all Councillors to support our greenspace. Please send your emails to these addresses:

hshore@markham.ca; clerks@markham.ca; fscarpitti@markham.ca; jheath@markham.ca; vburke@markham.ca; joeli@markham.ca; achiu@markham.ca; alan.ho@markham.ca; info@germanmills.org; jjones@markham.ca; glandon@markham.ca; dhamilton@markham.ca; cmoretti@markham.ca; ccampbell@markham.ca; lkanapathi@markham.ca; heidiwong@markham.ca

Selected letters are published below:

(For privacy reasons – last names and  addresses are removed)

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Sean

Dear Councillors,

I am one of the residents that are using the German Mills Settlers Park on a daily basis, and as many of other residents, I was shocked to hear that project to install  aerobic and anaerobic bioreactors came back again. Not sure how it was initiated, but as our beloved councillors, the consideration should be only based on the benefits of residents of surrounding the park and all residents of Markham.

We are all aware of that the project will not make economic sense for Markham, and technology wise it is a matured technology and will not make Markham as leaders in the area. And we, not only residents surrounding the park, but many residents in Markham, have been making our voices loud and clear to object any kind of bioreactors to be installed in the park. I have never seen so many residents in our neighborhood so enthusiastically involved in any other kinds issues before. It is clear to me it is such a big concern to so many residents.

Not sure any of you, our councillors, are using the park, but bioreactors or any kind of speedy technology will for sure create environmental concerns. Even as of now, every day in the morning when I am jogging near the ventilation well in the middle of the park, if it is not a windy day, the stinky air will make me hard to breathe; when I talked with residents near by the ventilation house, all of them had experienced the stinky smell before; cannot image what would it be like if bioreactors are installed.

 

It is clear to me this is not an issue of Markham pioneering in land fill processing technology, it is an issue about the people, not only people surrounding the park, but all the people in Markham. As our councillors please listen to the voices of the residents you are representing of, and consider the project only for the benefits of Markham and the people living in Markham, not for any other parties that would benefit from tax payer’s money from the project.

 

We, residents surrounding the park and residents of Markham, appreciate and applause for the motion from dear councillor, Howard Shore, to designate this area as a Meadow and Natural Habitat, and appeal all our councillors, for the benefits of the people and Markham, to support his motion in the coming meeting on Jun 26.

 

Thank you for your support,

Sean

Resident of Cottonwood CRT, Markham

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 Letter from residents of Thornhill – Hasan and Zenab

June 24, 2012

Dear Mayor and Councillors of Markham.

Subject: The Aerobic Project/experiment German Mills, Thornhill

We are resident of 74 German Mills Road, and our home backs on to the Meadow / Green space of the former Sabiston Landfill. Our Family supports the motion that was put forward by Councillor Shore on June 12th with respect to preserving the green space.

It has been over 37 years since the closure of the Sabiston Landfill in the German Mills area of Thornhill.  Since that time this area has clearly become a ‘green-space’ and is used by many on a daily basis for hiking or just observing the wonderful natural space and wildlife which have come to consider this area their home.

The vegetation in this area consists of  tall and short grasses, forbs (non-woody herbaceous plants with broad leaves, such as goldenrod, teasel, and asters), as well as a few scattered shrubs and trees. Along with areas on the east side of Settlers’ Park which are mainly forested or mowed, this grassland contributes to a diversity of habitats within the park.

Over 70 bird species and 15 mammal species have been identified in this area, making it a rich and valuable resource.  This site is also home to amphibians and reptiles (including frogs, Snapping turtles, Garter Snakes, and Little Brown Snakes), several species of fish, and many varieties of insects. In recent years salmon have also spawned in the German Mills Creek.

We strongly believe Markham has an opportunity to show strong environmental leadership here by having a clear vision in preserving the German Mills Meadow / Green space area of land, which can only be described as a gift to the present and future generations.  We perhaps do not have such a natural piece of meadow land in the GTA or other cities which provides natural habitat for plants and animals in an urban setting. This space is used by us our neighbours and by untold numbers of people on a daily basis, not just the houses that back on to the space such us ours, but by the surrounding area residents.

To approve the aerobic project in any form is, in our opinion, is wrong, and a terrible waste of tax payers money.  When this issue came up for review in 2006 the residents were opposed to it and remain opposed to this project even today and rightly so.

This beautiful piece of land must be preserved in its natural and existing state. The green space is no longer a landfill, not only was it closed 37 years ago but it is located in and close to residential areas.  We do not feel that vast majority of residents in the area are demanding that the Town do something about the Landfill. In fact quite the opposite, almost all the local residents I know of want nothing done to the land except to preserve it in its natural and evolved state which supports vegetation and wildlife.

In our opinion the aerobic project/experiment is a sheer waste, not only will the project disturb the land and natural settings, but will also interfere in any natural healing happening in the land. This project will  pollute and disturb a calm neighbourhood.

We support Councilor Shore’s motion to preserve this piece of land that nature has gifted to the Town of Markham.  Accepting the motion will be another proof of the Town’s commitment to the environment, and something for all of us to be proud of. Markham’s own Greenprint Sustainability Plan states: “We value and restore the natural environment and protect biodiversity, natural capital, and ecosystem services”

We hope the Town will do the right thing and not upset our habitat.

Sincerely,

Hasan and  Zenab

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 Letter from resident of Thornhill – Eileen

I support Councillor Shore’s motion regarding the proposed Sabiston Landfill Aerobic Pilot Project.

Attached is a picture of the area taken after the rain this evening. This is what people don’t want to give up enjoying the beauty of.  It’s like living in the country.

Regards,

Eileen

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood

Greetings Mayor Scarpitti and Honorable Councilors:

By now, you have read, heard & viewed many messages, articles & photos that may be facts, statistics, rumors, emotions, concerns, biased and unbiased information related to the motion to designate the ‘Former Sabiston Landfill’ as the ‘German Mills Meadow and Natural Habitat’.

This message is not to repeat all over again instead to respectfully request our Mayor, four Honorable Regional Councillors and eight Honorable Ward Councillors to listen to your heart, think about the local residents and vote YES to the proposed motion on June 26, 2012; just as you have already voted unanimously to make the change from ‘Town of Markham’ to ‘City of Markham’ on Canada Day this year.

This year will be a very special Canada Day for Markham residents to celebrate Canada’s Birthday, Birth of ‘City of Markham’ and Diamond Jubilee. But why stop here and leave out part of the Markham residents in sorrow and distress, please vote YES to designate the ‘Former Sabiston Landfill’ as the ‘German Mills Meadow and Natural Habitat’ on June 26, 2012.

We want to celebrate Canada Day with joy and not sorrow with all the ‘City of Markham’ residents.

Respectfully,

Anonymous

I am signing this message as an Anonymous because I strongly believe my name is not important but writing this very respectful request to all the dignitaries of Markham on behalf of all the youngs & olds, whom may not have time nor ability but have talked and trusted me to represent them in this message.

==============

On a personal note:

I first became the resident of Markham when the Town population was less than 80,000 people in 1981 and also opened a bank account in Markham, which has only 4 digits account number (instead of 7 digits). Indeed, I am still a customer of same bank. Markham is my home.

End of Message.

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 Letter from resident of Pine Knoll Gate – Kimberly

Dear Mayor Scarpitti and Honorable Councilors,

My name is Kimberly Seymour and I live on Pine Knoll Gate, in Thornhill, and I back onto the green space, “Settler’s Park” or the former Sabistan Landfill.

We bought our home, like many others in the area, specifically due to the fact that it backs onto this ravine or green space. Actually, I pay a premium to live here as MPAC assesses our property tax as “abutting green space” with a 5% premium; which I am happy to pay. I specifically went to the Town of Markham planning department to make sure that no development was planned for this site before moving here in June 2006. The response was that nothing will be done to this area as it is not allowed, due to the fact it is a former landfill. I thought “great!” I actually lost two bidding wars on this street before bidding on our current home. We specifically sought out this street and patiently waited for two years to buy here. I love the tranquility of my backyard and it is hard to believe, when I am there, I am so close to the city.

I am really tired of hearing about aerobic bioreactors. Two months after we moved into my home, these words have been haunting us. We were called to a Town meeting and felt completely defeated as we had been told two months prior that nothing would be done to this land. This aerobic technology has been discussed for over six years now; we have heard all the information, been to many meetings, received numerous emails, examined the information, and the technology is the same as it was six years ago. This proposal has consistently been rejected by the public and no new information will change our minds to support this project. I support Councilor Howard Shore’s motion to reject the aerobic bioreactor and to bring this land into the park system to preserve and protect this fragile, rare and special green space. We do not need or want more public meetings, we do not want this motion referred or deferred, we do not want to be forced into a project the public rejects, we do not want to lose more sleep and we definitely do not want to stare into an industrial site while in our backyards.

I love the lifestyle this green space affords me. I walk on a regular basis in the park all year round; in the winter I snowshoe. It is simply beautiful; I see all kinds of animals on a regular basis including deer, coyotes, many birds and other wildlife. I see many people biking, running, birding, dog walking, cross-country skiing and enjoying this stress free area. This is a rare unique place that the residents and park users love. People travel from all over the GTA to use this park. Installing the aerobic bioreactor would immediately decrease quality of life here. The trail would be fenced off and we would not be able to walk “the circuit”. As well we would have to look out to construction, an industrial site which is an eye sore and the stigma of landfill will be brought back to this neighbourhood. If this is forced through, I feel we would have to move. This would go directly against the quality of life I have chosen to live. I want to back onto a tranquil park not a bioreactor site, as I am sure you could appreciate; you would not want to back onto this either.

Residents value their quality of life here and have the right to. As Toronto and York region continues to be developed it is important to save and protect green space, especially this rare place where threatened species of birds, butterflies and turtles live. Also, there is a huge mental benefit to being close with nature. Residents do not want their lives disrupted, and their home values to decline. Therefore it is very important to reject this proposal and to relieve the fears and anxieties of the community. This meadow needs protected not destroyed.

The Town is doing a great job with their current monitoring system and has kept us safe for over 37 years, and they should continue to do so. I have complete faith in the work they are doing and do not worry about safety. I signed up for a methane detector to be installed six years ago in my home but was never contacted by the Town. I have signed up again this time, not because I am worried about my safety but to cooperate and work with the Town and help alleviate any fears of the Town and the Ministry of Environment. The Town has complied with the Ministry of Environment standards in monitoring this site for many years. Hopefully there will be a day, in the not too distant future, when monitoring will no longer be necessary, as there have been consistently zero or new zero readings. I believe succession has already occurred on this site and nature is reclaiming the land. Many trees are growing which indicates to me the area is already aerobic.

I have lived in Markham for over 20 years and have been proud to call this place home. I have been impressed with the environmental initiatives the Town has partaken. For the town to once again show environmental leadership, this park must be protected, residents rights need to be protected and spending must be controlled. Residents are quite happy to act as ambassadors for the park and are looking forward to working with Markham to highlight such an amazing natural area. The environmental, social and fiscal costs are too great to allow such a project to be considered any further. Please support Councilor Shore’s motion to protect this park and create a legacy for Markham for future generations.

Sincerely,

Kimberly

Kimberly Seymour

Settler’s Park Residents Association

 

P.S.  Thank you to the councilors who are able to join us for a tour of the park this Friday, I look forward to meeting you.

 

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Artem

Dear Councilor Shore, Mr. Mayor, Honorable Councilors,

I know that Mr. Mayor suggests deferring decision on this motion till September. I do not think the deferral option will benefit our community and Markham in general, and will only negatively affect the image of the Town and people’s trust in effectiveness of their elected representative bodies. Here is my reasoning:

Public perception of the aerobic project and debates around it do not contribute to improving of Markham’s image as environmental leader. On the contrary! Media honestly shows (Attachemnt 2) degree of anxiety and concerns of public about poor economic feasibility of the proposal, threat of unjustified waste of taxpayer $$ and detrimental effects of the proposed project on the current fragile and unique natural balance and exclusive wildlife habitat featuring 15 species of mammals such as deer and 70 species of birds including threatened meadow skylark and bobolink who only nest here and 2 other meadows in GTA. Any extension of the period when this community is kept in a state of unnecessary anxiety and negative informational background will serve no good – neither to the community nor to Markham in general.

What is very important, delay in solving this issue will only further hurt the image of Markham as environmental leader.  Please try to google the keyword “Markham environmental leader”. As a result on the very first page, you will see the links to information about debates over aerobic bioreactor experiment and articles about community environmental and wildlife protection concerns. Is this what we want Markham to be famous for? I don’t think so!

We don’t want to see the Town of Markham perceived as stubborn and opinionated individuals with agendas which are unclear to the public, as people who do not want to hear the public voice and do not care about wildlife preservation and community concerns. No, this is not the image of the Town we have in mind. We all know that until recently the name of Markham has always been associated with a true environmental leadership, which is ALWAYS based on careful consensus-based approach to such sensitive issues as natural habitat and wildlife preservation. And we believe Markham has to continue to be a true environmental leader!

Therefore, I address my sincere request to the Council –  for a sake of piece in the community, for a sake of positive trusted image of Markham as an environmental leader, for a sake of innocent threatened birds, reptiles and animals who choose to live in this unique habitat, please do not delay your decision, do not defer it to September, do not refer it again to the staff – we all have already suffered enough and heard enough from the staff for the past 6 years, they had a plenty of time to collect and provide full information. Delaying the decision and shuffling data back and forth will not change the simple truth “AEROBIC BIOERACTOR PROPOSAL LACKS COMMUNITY CONSENT” and this is confirmed by over 500 unique signatures on the petitions the people were addressing to the Town and the Council.

Artem

For your reference I attach some material which could help you understand importance of timely proactive decision by the Council

People’s comments on the aerobic proposal

  1. Media and Other Informational Coverage
  2. TFN reports
  3. Gas monitoring readings statistics
  4. Petitions

 

Attachment #1

 

People’s comments on the aerobic proposal (uncensored and reflecting solely opinions of the individuilas who wrote the comments)
http://germanmills.org/markham-communities-concerned-about-markham-council-aerobic-proposal-threat-to-health-and-nature/Attachment #2 Media and Other Informational Coverage http://germanmills.org/2012/06/07/media-sources-and-information-on-markham-town-aerobic-bioreactor-proposal-and-community-reaction-to-it/ Clcik on the links below to see the full text of the article:§  Former Thornhill landfill eyed as habitat – June 13, 2012§  Mowing triggers community clean up§  Don’t run experiment so close to our homes – June 4, 2012

§  Markham project worries landfill’s neighbors

§  Residents voice frustrations at green space meeting

§  Markham residents alarmed over proposed Sabiston landfill project

§  Meeting on former Thornhill landfill postponed

§  German Mills Settlers’ Park Master Plan Proposal (Submitted on behalf of the Toronto Field Naturalists by Theresa Moore – December 19, 2005 updated May, 2012)

§  Letter of Concern to the Town of Markham (Toronto Field Naturalists – May 15, 2012)

§  Facts and Figures / Questions & Concerns

§  German Mills Residents Association (GMRA) Aerobic Test Site

§  Help Save German Mills Settlers Park!

§  Economist & Sun: Residents voice frustrations at green space meeting

§  The Applicability of Using Aerobic Technology for the Former Sabiston Landfill Site Public Information Meeting

§  Former Sabiston Landfill Site Public Information Meeting and Indoor Air Quality  (Town of Markham Staff Report, September 26, 2011)

§  Flyer – Public Meeting Announcement (Save German Mills Settlers Park – May 2012)

§  Sabiston Landfill Regeneration Update (Councillor Howard Shore, 23 February 2012)

§  Sabiston Pilot Project – Rescheduling of Public Meeting Announcement & Responses to Some Resident Questions  (Town of Markham, 28 May 2012)

§  Sabiston Landfill Regeneration

§  Aerobic Test Site

§  Aerobic landfill proposed in Thornhill

§  Letter of Concern to the Town of Markham (Toronto Field Naturalists – October 27, 2006)

§  Letter of Concern to the Town of Markham (Toronto Field Naturalists – August 31, 2006)

§  Petition to Stop Bioreactor Project Save German Mills Park

§  Petition To Help Save German Mills Settlers’ Park

 

Attachment #3

TFN Reports are attached as .pdf files

 Attachment #4

Methane probe readings are attached as .pdf files

 Attachment #5

Petitions

2 petitions are available online:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stop-bioreactor-sabiston-landfill-project-thornhil/ – 96 signatures

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-german-mills-settlers-park – 200 signatures

The 3rd paper petition with over 300 signatures will be presented at the meeting.

Overall, we have over 500 unique signatures on these petitions!

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 Letter from resident of Thornhill – Susheila

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The former Sabiston Landfill has become so much since its closure nearly four decades ago. The Green space has become a rare jewel in the city and countless bird and mammal species have made their homes within it.

It is a valuable natural environment that should be protected!

The current anaerobic technology has given us this wonderful space and given natural homes for many rare birds and mammals. We must continue with this method of monitoring to keep this area the way it is.

Council needs to make the decision to protect this green space on JUNE 26th, 2012 and not deferred to a later date. The community has been voicing their objections throughout this entire process and it needs to be settled now to bring peace of mind to the residents of German Mills.

Please add this unique ecosystem  to the Markham Park System and protect it.

Thank you for your time and support!

Susheila Li

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Ross

 

To all who it concerns,

Having lived at 62 Cottonwood for the majority of my life, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the meadow that the house backs on to. It is for this reason that I strongly support the motion of councillor Shore to designate the space as German Mills Meadow and Natural Habitat to protect it from unnecessary, nefarious, and destructive Aerobic pilot projects that were proposed, and have continued to be proposed throughout my years living in the area.

The subject needs to be dropped once and for all. This needs to happen immediately on June 26th, not deferred to a hypothetical date in the future. Those in favour of this project are hoping that by that time, the focus on this issue will have subsided.

It is abundantly clear to all of the members of the community what the advantages and disadvantages of the Aerobic proposal are. The community has made their voice loud and clear for over 6 years. This is NOT something that we support, we have never supported it, and we never will support it. The attempts to drag this process on, to let the subject die down for a year or two, and then try and sneak it in again have gone on long enough.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Ross

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 Letter from resident of Pine Knoll Gate  – Michael

Dear Mayor and Councilors,

I support Howard Shore’s motion. This is an optional experiment in a residental area on a 37 year old landfill. This technology is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and involves unnecessary spending, distress to the community and destruction of habitat.

Please listen to the community who have been expressing for over six years they are not interested in this project. Why is Markham still trying to push this through? There are no safety concerns with the current monitoring system. Does Seneca realize this area houses habitat for threatened bird species? I think when they find out they will not be willing to tarnish their reputation on a ethically questionable experiment, on so many levels.

Please respect the wishes of the community and vote to support Councillor’s Shore’s motion to turn this land into protected parkland on June 26, at the Town meeting. Do not delay, protect this habitat for the diversity of animals that live here and for the people to enjoy this parkland. I encourage you to do the right thing and continue to show Markham as an environmental leader by keeping this meadow natural.

Mike

Thornhill

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 Letter from resident of Dawn Hill Trail – Florence

Dear Councillor Shore,

I am writing to support your motion on Settlers’ Park Meadow and Natural Habitat (the Former Sabiston Landfill).

The aerobic bioreactor project was first proposed in 2006 and it was overwhelmingly rejected by the area residents then. This proposal is raised again in March of this year, however, there was nothing new presented in both the Town meeting in March and the information from the Town since.  We rejected this proposal 6 years ago and we are rejecting this proposal now.

I strongly feel  that:

1.   We don’t need any more public meeting and we don’t have any more questions to the Markham Staff and Engineering Department. This aerobic proposal has been debated for 6 years and the residents have already received all pertinent information by way of Town Meetings, Town staff, existing “aerobic” site visit, community activists and independent experts. All this information has enabled us to make an informed decision.

2.   We reject this aerobic bioreactor proposal.

3.   We support your motion to stop the aerobic proposal once and for all and to protect this precious and unique meadow and natural habitat by incorporating it into Markham Park system.

4.   We wish to continue with the current methane monitoring and purging system. We are satisfied with the current measure to ensure the residents’ safety.

5.   We support additional methane monitoring measures, if warranted, to ensure residents’ safety.

6.   Last but not least, we do not want this motion to be deferred to a later date; we do not want this motion to be referred to staff or committee. We want Council to make a decision on June 26. Six years is long enough and we do not need any more unnecessary anxiety over the summer.

Thank you, Councillor Shore, for introducing this motion and for working tirelessly for the residents.

Florence

Thornhill, ON

 

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 Letter from resident of Pine Knoll Gate  – Al

Dear Mayor and Councillors:

I fully support Councillor Howard Shore’s Motion to completely remove consideration of an Aerobic Treatment System for the former Sabiston Landfill in Thornhill now known as German Mills Settlers Park. This former landfill has been closed for over 37 years and has undergone natural remediation since then. The City’s sampling data disclosed by Howard Shore indicates that there is almost zero methane being generated and mostly oxygen in the areas bordering the homes surrounding the former landfill. The methane burner located in the field next to Cottonwood has nothing to burn but oxygen !

For the City to now spend over $500,000 for a test site to bring the methane levels from zero to zero is, in my opinion, a total waste of taxpayers money and will do nothing for scientific research of the aerobic method as there is zero to insignificant methane being generated to start with. This project will just make Markham look like fools with a lot of money to burn.

Yours truly

Al

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Hernan

Howard Shore, Thornhill-Markham Councillor  Ward 2

 Dear Mr. Shore:

I would like to add my support to your Motion to recognize the former “Sabiston Landfill” as a unique natural  area

adding this greenspace to the Markham Park System as proposed in the Motion.

I overwhelmingly reject the aerobic bioreactor experiment.

I sincerely hope that this decision will protect our greenspace and will protect this natural and wildlife habitat,

I believe this is an excellent opportunity for Markham to show environmental leadership by protecting this unique area in the GTA.

I have been a proud resident of Markham for over 20 years and have really enjoyed living in Thornhill, especially the tranquility of backing onto this green space,

I would like to see this decision resolved on June 26, and not have this Motion deferred or referred to a latter time.

Respectfully,

Hernan

Thornhill, On

 

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 Letter from resident of Pine Knoll Gate – Rigby

Dear Councillor Shore

I am a resident of Pine Knoll Gate, but I do not back on to the Meadow / Green space / formally the Sabiston Landfill.  I support the motion that was put forward by you to on June 12th with respect to preserving the green space.

I think Markham does have an opportunity to show strong environmental leadership here by  showing clear and strong leadership in preserving this piece of land, which can only be described as a gift to the present generation and those that follow us long after we are gone..  Where else would you find such a natural meadow land in the GTA or other cities that provides the tranquility of this space. It is used by untold numbers of people on a daily basis.  Not just the houses that back on to  the space but by the surrounding area residents.  To proceed with this aerobic project in any form is, in my opinion, misguided and anything but environmentally friendly, in fact quite the opposite, not to mention a terrible waste of money.  This former landfill was closed 37 years ago.  When this came up for review in 2006 the residence were opposed to it and we remain opposed to this project.

This is a beautiful piece of heritage land and should be preserved. In its natural state. From what I can gather this technology is effective on current and active landfills, one of the main benefits is the fact that the land compacts 25% – 30% which enables an existing landfill site to extend its capacity and life and thus saving costs or the need to find more landfill sites. I am not against technology.  This landfill is unique, not only was it closed 37 years ago but it is located in and close to residential areas.  I don’t believe that vast numbers of residents of the area are demanding that the Town do something about the Landfill. In fact quite the opposite, almost all the local residents want nothing done to the land except to preserve it in its natural and evolved state.  It supports vegetation and wildlife.

In my opinion there is no value in providing SENECA or the Town with an opportunity to study a technology that has already been studied elsewhere.  Especially to a landfill that has been closed for 37 years.  We all know that this project’s technology works on active landfills, there are many studies on this. It just doesn’t make any sense to me in terms of providing a business case that is fiscally responsible or ecologically responsible simply to study, as a pilot or full scale project the impact to this 37 year old landfill not to mention the destruction of this natural site that will occur.

I support your motion to preserve this piece of land that nature has gifted to the Town of Markham..  This would be a very positive environment friendly message and something to be proud of. I hope that when this motion comes up before Council on the 26th it can be defeated and not referred to another date for a vote.  This is not a new issue for the neighborhood, there are no new facts to discuss.  Please help us end this on-going disruption to our lives.

You can see from this picture, which is just one part of the area, this is not a barren waste land but an active grassland / meadow.

A sample View of the Landfill in Thornhill      Sabiston Landfill Settlers Park Site

Please don’t let Council force this project on the residents…Please help leave a legacy and preserve this piece of Heritage land in its natural state for this generation and the next to enjoy.  Help us bring this into the Park’s system.

Thank you

Rigby

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Irene

 

Hi Mr. Shore,

I live on Cottonwood Crt and your Motion has a great importance to me! I was following this issue very closely and always tried to have an unbiased view on the Town’s proposal.

I wish to thank the Town for detailed and comprehensive information it was providing us about methane readings and advantages of aerobic technology.

Starting from 2004, it tried so hard! It held several very informative public meetings with impressive presenters (Mr. Beatty, the major aerobic subcontractor was so persistent all these years and gave us many interesting facts – I was shocked to learn e.g. that “methane gas is the one of the most toxic gases of all the greenhouse gases” but then I was relieved when referred to the chemistry textbook and confirmed my suspicion that methane is just “a colorless, non-toxic/nonpoisonous, flammable gas created by anaerobic decomposition of organic compounds”, we were also alarmed by the warnings that because of methane our houses can blow up any minute, but when, again thanks to the Town, we saw the reports of methane readings from

2010-2012 showing zero or near-zero results for all the probes abutting the homes, we realized that we are in good and reliable hands of professional staff and should not worry about our safety).  Starting from 2004, the Town prepared several Staff reports, where it stated that “gas burning system installed in the fan house has not been working for the past few years due to the lack of gases that can be collected for burning.” “The results showed no measurable leachate impacts in German Mills Creek due to the landfill; the water quality meets MOE Surface Water requirements.” ” No instances of methane above MOE standards at boundary gas probes”.

Obviously, for more than 6 years, a very extensive research was conducted (e.g. in 2006 Beatty & Associates was recommended to be retained to carry out the final design, preparation of tender document, site supervision and contract administration for the Installation of Aerobic Landfill and Leachate Recirculation System at the Settler’s Park Landfill site at an upset limit of $108,000 (excluding GST). I think we all agree that for these six years Town Engineering , Finance and Administration Staff had more than enough time and resources to provide public with exhaustive and comprehensive PROPER information, which it did with excellence. And we appreciate this!

On the other hand, I am also very grateful to independent experts and wildlife protection activists, including TFN, for their informational input and sharing alternative from the Town engineering department view on this proposal. I spent a lot of my time researching solid waste management literature, environmental aspects, advantages and disadvantages of dry tomb (conventional), aerobic, anaerobic and hybrid technologies. Based on these studies, and based on analysis of material from numerous boreholes provided by the Town I may conduct that I don’t expect catastrophic heat and strong LFG (landfill gases) emission to be an issue with proposed aerobic scheme.

(On October 4, 2006 at the Public Information Meeting, the Town presented that “Numerous boreholes have been drilled in and around the landfill, to examine the waste material, methane levels and contaminants in the groundwater. The drilling encountered typical dry household waste (e.g. newspapers, kitchen waste, etc.), building rubble (e.g. wood, concrete, brick etc.) and various types of earth fill (e.g. topsoil, sand, clay, etc.)”. This means that this former landfill even in 2006 already did not have any significant organic waste, which is the major component and requirement to have aerobic process working. The fact that no organic waste was found in boreholes, means that no methane-generating substance is present as well, and the whole idea of aerobic proposal is a mug’s game lacking both those infernal threats that can be found in the reports about aerobic technology (Increased gas emissions, Increased odors, physical instability of waste mass due to increased moisture and density, instability of liner systems, surface seeps and landfill fires and spontaneous combustions) and  at the same time lacking any environmental or economic sense as well.

As a result, we have a proposal to spend $553,000 ADDITIONALLY and in parallel to existing annual methane monitoring expenses on some experimental aerobic technology without having conditions necessary for aerobic treatment, on the technology to research the subject which actually does not exist in this former landfill. Any graph showing methane emission in the landfill will demonstrate that after the first 20 years methane emission drops significantly and becomes marginal after 30-40 years. Sabiston landfill was closed over 37 years ago and the probes reading demonstrate that there is absolutely no sense to introduce this experiment here.

Based on all said, I request you, Honorable Councillors, to stop this 6-year maneuvering around treatment of what does not need treatment, bring piece and confidence to the community and finally vote for and support this motion and close this painful “landfill stigma” once and forever. Not only all residents of our community will be grateful to you for this wise and spirited decision, but also 70 species of birds, including threatened ones,

15 species of mammals, and all creatures living in our beautiful meadow will say thanks to you!

Sincerely,

Irene

Thornhill

 

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Gillian

Dear Councillor Shore,

I am writing to strongly support the motion to declare the Aerobic Bioreactor Landfill Technology pilot project no longer under consideration by the Town of Markham and bring this greenspace into the Markham park system to designate it as the “German Mills Meadow and Natural Habitat.”

As someone who regularly walks through the beautiful park, preserving it in its current state is incredibly important. The debates about installing an aerobic system have gone on for many years, with much opposition from the community. As a vocal and united community, we wish to continue with the current anaerobic technology, and are satisfied with the way the Town is currently ensuring residents’ safety. If additional monitoring is required, I believe residents would certainly agree to this measure, as opposed to the radical change that a new system would bring.

From the time I was 12 years old until last year, I lived with the greenspace right behind my backyard and it provided a special and unique place to walk, learn and grow. Although I moved out of my parents’ home to get married, my husband and I still walk in the park and appreciate it for its unique beauty in a built-up urban area. My parents still live in their house on Cottonwood and it is a special treat for me to sit in the backyard and watch the wildlife. This park is a gift to the residents of Markham and must be preserved. The park is home to many species of animals, including two rare species of birds. We ask for your continued support to protect the greenspace, and have it added to the Markham Park System

I believe that this issue needs to be addressed on June 26 and should not be deferred until a later date. The community has attended many public meetings and heard information from community activists, scientific experts, and the Town of Markham representatives, and the information has been sufficient to come to a decision.

I support Councillor Shore’s motion 100 per cent and oppose the aerobic system proposal.

Please do the right thing and vote no to the aerobic system, which would destroy the park in a way that would be irreparable.

Sincerely,

Gillian

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 Letter from resident of Dawn Hill Trail – Bernard

Dear Councillor Shore,

I am writing today to support your motion on Settlers’ Park Meadow and Natural Habitat (the Former Sabiston Landfill).

The aerobic bioreactor project was first proposed in 2006 and it was overwhelmingly rejected by the area residents then. This proposal is raised again in March of this year, however, there was nothing new presented in both the Town meeting in March and the information from the Town since.  We rejected this proposal 6 years ago and we are rejecting this proposal now.

I respectfully submit that:

1.     We don’t need any more public meeting and we don’t have any more questions to the Markham Staff and Engineering Department. This aerobic proposal has been debated for 6 years and the residents have already received all pertinent information by way of Town Meetings, Town staff, existing “aerobic” site visit, community activists and independent experts. All this information has enabled us to make an informed decision.

2.     We reject this aerobic bioreactor proposal.

3.     We support your motion to stop the aerobic proposal once and for all and to protect this precious and unique meadow and natural habitat by incorporating it into Markham Park system.

4.     We wish to continue with the current methane monitoring and purging system. We are satisfied with the current measure to ensure the residents’ safety.

5.     We support additional methane monitoring measures, if warranted, to ensure residents’ safety.

6.     Last but not least, we do not want this motion to be deferred to a later date; we do not want this motion to be referred to staff or committee. We want Council to make a decision on June 26. Six years is long enough and we do not need any more unnecessary anxiety over the summer.

We thank you, Councillor Shore, for introducing this motion and for working tirelessly for the residents.

Bernard

Thornhill, ON

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Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Gail

Dear Councillor Shore:

I write to strongly support your motion, to scrap the idea of the Aerobic Bioreactor Pilot Project, proposed for the green space behind Cottonwood Court.  I have lived on this court for over 15 years, and it has been a joy to watch nature’s continuing transformation of what was a landfill, into the most beautiful meadow,  which sustains an abundance of wildlife, flora & fauna.

This area is widely used by local (and not so local!) residents  and it’s become a social gathering area, where you can often find dog owners chatting together, families biking along the paths…it gives us the opportunity to get out there and meet the people in our community..and what a unique setting to do this in!

This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight that Markham Council supports preserving our green space! I strongly support Councillor Shore’s in his motion to maintain the current monitoring system, with any modifications deemed necessary. Let’s put this to rest once and for all, this has been hanging over our heads for too long!

Sincerely,

Gail

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Letter from Toronto Field Naturalists (TFN)

Re:       Proposal from Councillor Howard Shore re: former Sabiston Site

Date:   June 20, 2012

We enthusiastically support the proposal to formally recognize and preserve the former Sabiston site as a unique natural habitat, under the Markham Parks system.  This proposal is very much in keeping with our 2006 and 2012 reports which highlighted the value of this rare meadow habitat.

With respect to the proposal to ‘consider a leachate collection system to protect the local creek’, our previous comments remain pertinent  i.e. “We remain committed to a ‘leachate collection only’ project as one option to reduce creek pollution and preserve habitat, provided this was installed and operated in a manner than minimized disruption to existing (meadow) wildlife and  vegetation…we are still awaiting details on the impact/disruption that an independent collection system would entail.”

We look forward to continued collaboration with the Town of Markham and are available for consultation on the recommendations made in our earlier reports on a Master Plan for the Park and former Sabiston site.

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 Letter from resident of Cottonwood Crt – Kathy

Hello Councillor Shore,

 I reside close to the greenspace that used to be called the Sabiston Landfill and I applaud the Notice of Motion that you intend to introduce at the meeting on Wed., June 26th. The Motion includes a move to cancel the Town of Markham hosting an Aerobic Bioreactor Landfill Technology pilot project.

 I have attended several public meetings regarding this pilot project and after listening to reports by experts and receiving detailed, objective and comprehensive information on it, I have been able to conclude that the proposed project represents an unacceptable, irresponsible health risk to my neighbourhood. I am satisfied with the present measures that the Town of Markham takes to ensure the safety of the residents with regards to monitoring methane levels. Also, the intentional destruction of a rare ecosystem will not make Markham a world leader in environmental concerns and/or issues : quite the opposite.

 I hope that when you put this Motion before the Council on the 26th, the vote on it will not be deferred to a later date. I will be attending the meeting, along with all my neighbours, to show the Council that we support your recommendations. Thank you very much, in advance, for striving to benefit our community.

 Warmest Regards,

 Kathy

Thornhill

 

 

 

 

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