By Don Crosby
For the Confederate
Lystek International has cleared another hurdle in its bid to complete construction of a waste to fertilizer plant in Dundalk.
The Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) has denied a request to hear the appeals of the Ministry of the Environment’s environmental compliance approvals for the Southgate Organic Materials Recovery Centre.
Southgate Public Interest Research Group (SPIRG) and members of the Six Nations community near Brantford launched the appeals.
“We were confident from the outset that these requests would be denied. Even if they had been granted there was no chance they would have been successful because the claims were groundless,” said Kevin Litwiller, director of business development for Lystek in a media release on Thursday.
“The arguments presented by SPIRG and the other applicants have no basis scientifically, technically or factually. Our approvals were issued by the Ministry of the Environment and the Grand River Conservation Authority after an extended, detailed review process and extensive consultations with both the public and the First Nations communities,” he added.
In a detailed 21-page report the associate chair of the ERT determined that the information for the appeals was not properly filed and could not be heard.
SPIRG Vice President James Cooke explained that the appeal documents did not reach the tribunal within the required 15-day appeal period.
“The decision was not based on the consideration of the content of the appeal application but on the timing of its arrival. The documents were prepared in time to make the 15-day appeal deadline and they were submitted to all but one critical email address when they were filed. Because the appeal documents did not reach the tribunal within the 15 day period the appeal was denied,” said Mr. Cooke who was disappointed with the outcome.
He went on to claim that SPIRG and the First Nations group was treated differently by the tribunal than Lystek.
He said lawyers for both the Ministry of the Environment and Lystek aggressively lobbied the ERT to deny SPIRG’s right to appeal based on one missed email address.
“Yet the company began construction and excavation before consulting Six Nations or even performing any archeological assessment without penalty whatsoever. It’s a travesty,” Mr. Cooke said.
Bill Montour, a spokesperson for the Men’s Fire of the Six Nations confirmed in late November that the group’s request was turned down because their appeal material failed to arrive within the required 15-day appeal period.
The ERT is a quasi-judicial body that adjudicates applications and appeals made under various environmental and planning statutes.
Southgate Mayor Brian Milne said he was pleased with the tribunal’s ruling.
“Once again this reinforces that Southgate council is on the right track with our eco park development. We will continue to listen to the vast majority of our residents and deliver on our commitment to economic and environmental stability for the community of Southgate,” Mayor Milne said.