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Concerns for children’s health and safety

Dear Editor,

As a very concerned parent and citizen of Dundalk, I would like to comment on the issues and some points of interest in regard to Southgate’s Eco-Park located in Dundalk.

My first concern and comment not only lies with the health and safety of my own children, but also for all the children and residents whose lungs have been given a break from breathing the bio-aerosols emitted from the “fluffing” of the “material” at the Sittler facility at the Eco-Park.

When we think of “common yard waste” we tend to think of things like leaves, grass and weeds. What we may not be thinking of is the herbicides, pesticides, pet and animal droppings, and oil and automotive wastes from leaves picked up from city curbs and streets. Not to mention the mould spores generated as this waste decomposes. These products can be present at anytime, in any combination in the “common yard waste” compost heaps, all, until recently “fluffed” into the air you, your children and loved ones were being forced to breathe.

There are certain individuals who are making comment alluding to the “surprise and disappointment” toward the group of individuals involved in the blockade at the Eco-Park, and that they/we don’t have more consideration for the people of Dundalk.

It is no secret that I fully and completely support this blockade. The unfortunate circumstances bestowed upon us that have led up to this should never have taken place. There have been many references recently to “reasonable debate.” When did these debates take place? There never were any… only instances when our Council and Mayor told us what their plans were, after the fact.

Contrary to what people are being led to believe, we are a very peaceful group only interested in the protection of our loved ones, community, natural wetlands, water and air quality. This protects us all. Even the people and loved ones of the people being led to believe, or believe we are bullies, scaremongers, or a fringe element who have nothing better to do than cause trouble. We too are people with families, jobs, responsibilities, and lives like everyone else. We would love nothing more than to not have to devour our every second of spare time having to defend our health, safety, quality of life, and natural resources against people who we trusted to do this for us.

A point of interest for residents is that every day since mid-April after a discussion with Dundalk’s Fire Chief took place and after careful consideration, an individual employed by Sittler has been permitted into the Eco-Park to monitor the temperatures of Sittler’s product, as the decision of our group was, is, and always has been to put the safety and concern for our residents first.

With all the “surprises” bestowed on Dundalk and Southgate residents of late, I may ask: Would residents be at all surprised if our Council and Mayor took so much time to be concerned with our “health and safety” that they’ve allowed an environmental thermally sensitive, 12 acre compost facility in Dundalk to be manned by an individual that is not fully trained in composting processes and takes direction from other Sittler staff? Something perhaps residents may want to consider or ask their Council and Mayor. Your may be “surprised” by the answer you get. One would certainly hope that our Council and Mayor would demonstrate more consideration for the Southgate community.

Some positives to consider: improvement to the quality of our lives due to the consistent drop in temperature of the Sittler material’ the freedom from bio-aerosols being emitted into the air we breathe; no more foul, putrid odour; no more “mystery” material being reported on people’s vehicles; all since the blockade has taken place. My children’s upper respiratory health and energy levels have coincidentally drastically improved over the last couple of weeks I am pleased to say.

The Six Nations and certain individuals representing their group have recently been portrayed in some local media as nothing more than troublemakers with nothing better to do. What a despicable thing to say about these wonderful people who I have had the privilege to meet. They are a caring group who are interested only in protecting the natural wetland and water source on a tract of land that IS rightfully theirs.

This group of wonderful people commonly and ignorantly many times get overlooked. I am ashamed to admit I too, until recently, did not take the time to education myself on just how often they ARE overlooked and disregarded, and just how often they are regarded as “troublemakers” because they oppose the destruction of the plant’s resources for the sake of economics.

I realize economics is/are important, however, what is the REAL cost?

Let’s not forget pretty pictures can always be painted by those seeking to gain in hopes of swaying opinion, but just really sit back and think about what is REALLY to gain.

Think about what we at the blockade and those that support us are seeking to gain: clean water and air for our families, a fair and transparent Council and Mayor that hears us when we speak, health and well-being for our loved ones for generations to come, a town free from the onslaught of truck after truck full of all different waste products, the potential to improve with truly green businesses, not waste companies posing under the ”green” umbrella trying to take advantage of places that are small and that they feel don’t have a lot of clout.

These companies will continue to consistently try to sway people by making what they have to offer sound favourable. Remember, we all have that inner-voice and get that feeling in the its of our stomachs; that voice and that feeling that speak to us when we are being pressured to be persuaded into something. That voice and feeling are there for a reason. They are a natural human response that is there to protect us from any situation that can be detrimental to us. If that voice and that feeling happen to you when you think or talk about what kind of waste businesses our Council and Mayor have, and are attempting to bestow upon you and your loved ones, then instead of disregarding and not listening to it (as we all often do), it is vitally important to listen to that inner-voice and feeling now more than ever!

Rebecca Shelley, Resident of Southgate

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