Mr. Ross Belsher (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency):
Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member on his perseverance in the situation in the Rouge Valley.
The IWA or the Interim Waste Authority was established by the Government of Ontario to examine and review all potential landfill sites within the regions of Durham, Peel and York metro. The members of the advisory board are charged with making a single recommendation for a landfill site in each area by mid-1993.
The inventory of the potential sites was based on scientific and technical data rather than on political and social pressures or considerations. That is the over-all game plan of the Ontario government. It functions at arm's length from the Government of Ontario and its recommendations reflect the members' technical assessment and not the government's plans or policies.
The IWA has reduced its long list of 50 sites down to a short list which still includes M-6, an area bordering on the Rouge Valley. Consequently M-6 will be assessed in terms of its technical feasibility. Adjacent land use and other influencing factors will be weighed accordingly when its suitability is being considered.
March 16, 1993
Subsequent to the IWA final recommendations, public hearings will be held to encourage input and inquiry into the appropriateness of the recommended sites following the consultation stage. The final decision will still rest with the Ontario cabinet.
In all likelihood the next stage of technical assessment will eliminate M-6 from the short list. As IWA operates independent of the government's proposed plans for land use in the Rouge Valley and as the government's current support for a park in the Rouge Valley neither restricts nor encourages the IWA's review process, advising the Ontario government of the federal government's concerns would not prove effective at this time.
The minister of natural resources made the Government of Ontario's position quite clear on January 19 of this year when he announced the creation of an urban park within the Rouge Valley and the preservation of
8,000 acres of adjacent agriculture land. The M-6 site is located within the area identified for preservation as agriculture land.
In evaluating the suitability of M-6, the IWA will now have to take into consideration the Ontario government's expressed intention to establish a park in the Rouge Valley. It is a decision which will likely have considerable influence in the IWA's final assessment of M-6 suitability for landfill purposes.
I remain confident in the Ontario government's commitment to the Rouge Valley park. I am hopeful that the IWA recommendations will not favour the M-6 site, given its current and projected adjacent land use.
When the IWA recommendations-
Topic: PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
Subtopic: SITTING RESUMED The House resumed at 6 p.m.