“There’s been no clean-up started,” said Mayor Robert Kirby. “That’s where it is now.”
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Le dépotoir illégal de Saint-Eugène est toujours là
A light dusting of snow now coats the mounds of trash sitting behind a partial screen of trees, off of County Road 14, just a five-minute drive south of the township’s municipal office. More than a year ago now, François Charlebois, a would-be commercial recycling plant developer, began storing construction debris, wood pallets, and other items on the site without applying first to the Ontario Ministry of Environment for a recycling permit, or getting site approval from the township for his project.
Charlebois filed his recycling permit request earlier this year with the ministry, but was rejected after a summer site inspection. The ministry ordered him to clean up the site, but allowed a deadline extension on the order while it reviews his file again.
But even if the ministry reverses its decision and grants Charlebois the permit, he still may not be able to go ahead with his project.
The property belonged to Sayed Abdullah Ahmad of Toronto, who was Charlebois’ partner in the recycling plant project. The township seized the land earlier this year for non-payment of taxes, and Ahmad has indicated he has no plans to pay any of the money.
The township may keep the property now, rather than offer it for sale to anyone willing to pay the outstanding taxes. The remains of a scaling wall and other facilities still exist at one end of the site, when it was a military training facility during one of the World Wars.
Mayor Kirby noted that the municipality may declare part or all of the land as a local heritage site, once staff has a chance to research the history behind its use as an army training camp.