Mother-daughter pair Ruby Williams (left), and Michelle Williams protest outside a community meeting held in Dresden on Saturday, regarding a proposed Waste Regenerative Recycling Facility, to be operated by York1 Environmental Waste Solutions Ltd. on a site of the former Dresden landfill north of the town. Photo credit: David Gough.

Dresden residents still have many doubts and concerns about a proposed Waste Regenerative Recycling Facility planned to be located just north of Dresden, following a community meeting on Saturday afternoon at Dresden’s Rotary Wheelhouse.

York1 Environmental Waste Solutions Ltd.’s George Kirchmair outlined the company’s plans in a 20-minute presentation, followed by a two-hour question and answer session. Kirchmair said that they plan to use a property on Irish School Road to take in construction waste, sort it and recycle it, and then ship it out for various reusable uses. He said there are no plans to accept municipal garbage or hazardous waste.

Kirchmair said most construction demolition materials in Ontario go to landfills.

“Really, it’s just wrong. Ninety percent of those materials can get recycled,” Kirchmair said.

Among the common concerns raised by the crowd include increased traffic and decreased property values. Residents also have strong feelings that while York1 will benefit financially, it will be the community who will have to take the brunt of the negatives of having a waste recycling facility—such as well water degradation and noise issues.

Dave Willson, who lives across from the property, said there was nothing he heard during Saturday’s presentation that quelled his fears of what York1 is proposing for the site.

“I’m worried about the truck traffic, noise, dust pollution, my (water) well,” Willson said.

Willson said a proposed 80-foot high landfill also worries him and its effect on his property values, as he figures his house’s possible sale price has been cut in half in the past two weeks.

York1 bought the property in late 2022. One of the benefits of the property is that the 35-hectare site already has existing provincial permits for a landfill and waste processing. The property was at one time the Dresden dump and has been a wood recycling facility for several years.

“That property has been receiving waste since the 1960s,” Kirchmair said.

“With those two permits, it allows for a lot of opportunity to run a recycling facility that can be sustainable.”

In a proposal submitted to the Ministry of Environment, York1 is seeking approval to amend those permits to increase the area of the waste processing site to 25 hectares and allow for up to 7,000 tonnes of waste to be received by the facility each day; this includes 6,000 tonnes of non-hazardous solid waste, such as construction waste, demolition waste, and excess soil for beneficial reuse, and another 1,000 tonnes of residual waste.

The company is also looking to amend the permits to allow trucks to the facility on a 24-7 basis. Kirchmair said they don’t plan to run around the clock, as most of their facilities close at 9 p.m. He said they applied for that amendment for future flexibility.

Kirchmair said that they have no plans to expand the property. York1 bought a property north of the landfill and a 100-acre property south to buffer the site. Both properties are currently agricultural properties.

The Wheelhouse was full, with only a capacity of 100 people, while dozens more waited outside holding signs against the dump.

A second meeting for community engagement is also planned for March 1 at the Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre, which will be limited to the first 300 attendees.