Any Springwater taxpayers remember the huge chemical-fed fireball at the hazardous waste transfer site on Snow Valley Road in July 2003?

The 100 foot flames? Smoke plume visible from Collingwood and downtown Toronto?

We remember the lack of willingness to meet as a group, respect and support the Springwater mayor, council, and staff gave.

So when the Midhurst Secondary Plan surprise (1,100 homes to 11,000) happened in November, 2011, we had some history to compare how much truth we should expect from the current Township administration.

The Barrie Examiner (Bob Bruton and Mike Hinds) reported on August 3, 2003, Still thirsty for answers: Residents push for meeting:

Some residents are still seeing smoke days after a huge chemical-fed fire burned out on Snow Valley Road.

Les Stewart, who lives on Highway 26/27 near the Philip Environmental Services fire site, says there needs to be a community meeting to clear the air.

“I’m not for scaring people at all, but, in an information vacuum, the anxiety factor rises exponentially and that is what I am feeling in the community,” said Stewart

He says if everything is all right, people want to know. And, if it’s not, they want to know what the options are.

“There are 18 (affected) homes on Snow Valley Road and Bayfield (Street),” he said. “There are a lot of people with these kind of concerns.”

The fire last Monday afternoon at Philip Environmental sent fireballs and black smoke billowing skyward.

Air emissions testing by Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment showed contaminants at only trace levels.

Results of water, soil and vegetation tests are expected this week.

Stewart says while com information has been released, residents have more questions and concerns.”

“Perception is reality, and it’s hard to avoid the mushroom cloud. People will remember it,” he said.

Springwater Township members on July 29, 2003:

  • Helen Coutts, Mayor
  • John Brown, Deputy Mayor
  • George Woods
  • Tom Elliott
  • Ross Money
  • Tony Guergis
  • George Todd, Midhurst

Update: No meeting. No data. Rebuilt hazardous waste building (2 to 3 times the size of original one).

Springwater Township resident Les Stewart takes a close look at his tap water, but it won’t bring him any closer to knowing what’s in it after a large chemical fire forced the evacuation of 500 people from their homes in July. Stewart, who represents about 20 of his neighbours, wants raw data on well water, air quality and soil testing.  Photo by Mark Wanzel

Re-posted on voteLesStewart.ca on March 6, 2014.

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