By Don Crosby, For the Confederate
Southgate council got a pat on the back from residents who don’t usually attend council wearing signs that read ‘I support council.’
Mayor Brian Milne and some councillors appreciated the support after more than six months of constant criticism for approval of the proposed sludge to fertilizer plant by Cambridge based Lystek International. It plans to process human waste from urban sewage systems into agricultural grade fertilizer.
Former long time Southgate Mayor Don Lewis and former local Liberal MP Murray Calder, who represented Southgate for 11 years in the House of Commons, were among the sign bearing supporters.
In a prepared statement Mr. Calder told council that he was speaking on behalf of a group of people who are not an activist group,“ just a group of Southgate residents who believe in the people we elected.”
He said he sympathized with what council was going through making tough decisions and then having some residents critical. He urged opponents to hold off with their criticism until the next election.
“I’m here for good governance. We elect these officials to take care of business. Southgate is a corporation . . . let them do the job. And if you don’t like the way that they’re doing the job when the next election comes around get rid of them and put someone that you do like,” he said later during an interview.
Mr. Calder said councilors have acted within the law and he thinks they’ve made the right decision around the proposed Lystek treatment facility. He wants to see sewage sludge handled in an environmentally friendly way.
“I think it’s probably more advantageous to go through the proper procedure and incorporate it back into the soil because it’s a fertilizer plain and simple. And I’m a farmer,” Mr. Calder said.
Long time former Mayor Don Lewis, also supports councilors actions saying they were elected to weigh the facts and then makes decisions.
“I agree with their decision. They made the right decision. They did what they were supposed to do as a council. They listened to the input from the so-called experiments. . We have people who are scientists and experts who say it is safe. It’s a solution to some of the problems in our society so why not accept it and get a few jobs while you’re at it,” he said.
Some of the opponents of the Lystek project criticized supporters for wearing politically motivated signs in the council chambers saying it was in violation of the Roberts Rules of order. The mayor should have banned the signs from council, said Clinton Smith.
Tony Nunes disagrees with Mr. Calder’s characterization of sewage sludge as fertilizer.
“It’s not a fertilizer. It’s a hazardous waste full of contaminants. . . they don’t even know what’s in the sewage sludge and he doesn’t know either and to just bypass the issue of contaminants all together is misleading on his part,” Mr. Nunes said.