KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – A landfill near Bridgetown in the Annapolis Valley has been the subject of complaints at the Municipal level for nearly five years. At the time the facility was managed by a Annapolis Progressive Conservative candidate Jennifer Ehrenfeld-Poole, who earlier became a subject of controversy after screenshots circulated on social media of the candidate expressing a desire to commit violence against cyclists.
Environmental concerns are being raised in an online petition that is resurfacing in the days leading up to the election. Residents of the area are concerned about water contamination, pollution from work trucks, and the nature of the materials being accepted at the facility.
The landfill, Arlington Heights Construction & Debris, was run by Ehrenfeld-Poole.
Complaints began circulating in 2017 after the landfill sought to expand operations with an Arlington Asbestos Waste Disposal Facility.
Among the concerns was the acceptance of autofluff material that poses many health and safety hazards. Auto fluff is defined as “a complex mixture of non-ferrous materials including plastics, foam, textiles, rubber and glass.”
Landfill issued warning earlier this year for accepting unauthorized materials
In February CBC News revealed that the facility would be undergoing an environmental investigation after the facility was found to be receiving autofluff it was not permitted to accept during a scheduled audit.
Asked about the conclusions found in the February investigation of the disposal of auto-fluff at Arlington Heights, the Department of Environment tells The Nova Scotia Advocate:
“A warning was issued to the company. Testing showed the material has not resulted in any environmental impacts, and it can stay in place. As directed, the company is retaining a third-party consultant to continue to monitor groundwater and surface water.”
While the investigation into Arlington Heights is completed, the department says that “additional monitoring and sampling are currently being conducted by the facility.”
While the PC’s say Ehrenfeld-Poole does not own the business, she has represented herself as the site owner for as long as two decades. The Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative party response to our questions was unclear about when Ehrenfeld-Poole left her role at the site.
In articles about the landfill’s problems by the CBC and the Chronicle Herald she consistently identifies herself as the owner. She was listed as the “proponent contact” on the proposal to expand the facility in 2017.
Much of Ehrenfeld-Poole’s social media history was removed or hidden after the series of violent posts, but not her comment history in a local private Facebook group. In these comments she again positions herself as owner and the person in charge of the landfill.
In 2017, Ehrenfeld-Poole wrote, “I am very confident on my site and with staff have great reputation with environment,” adding, “We surpass the guidelines because that’s what I believe we should be doing.” She blamed understaffing at the Department of Environment for the “very generic” guidelines and requirements.
In a 2018 post, Ehrenfeld-Poole details the history of her business, writing, “Arlington started back in 2000 by previous owners. I have had it for the past 10 years.”
Ehrenfeld-Poole claims the site operates on impermeable clay, adding, “We have had zero infractions ever on this site.”
Concerns at municipal level
A simple search through Municipal minutes reveals years of concerns and complaints about the site.
In December 2017, Council acknowledged receipt of a letter regarding the landfill’s proposed expansion, but noted the Province has authority over health and environment.
The next month, “Councillor Fowler reported that it has been determined that no further environmental assessments have to take place in order for the current site to double its size.”
“Residents are very concerned that we are accepting that toxic waste,” the minutes read. The Municipality moved unanimously to send a letter of concern regarding the site to their MLA, then-premier Stephen McNeil.
A year later, in March 2019, Council unanimously agreed to send a letter to the province’s environment minister, “requesting that he connect with and meet with the Annapolis Waterkeepers regarding issues surrounding water quality to do with the Arlington dump on the North Mountain.”
That August, Council received a letter from Kip McCurdy of the Annapolis Waterkeepers. The environmental activism group proposed to work with Council and the Province to “draft and establish appropriate bylaws for the disposal of hazardous waste (i.e. asbestos, etc.) in the province,” with a closer look at bylaws for the Arlington Road site. In another unanimous vote, Council moved to write a letter in support of the Annapolis Waterkeepers concerns on asbestos disposal in Annapolis County.
Concerns continued on the municipal level, as Warden Alan Parish of the Committee of the Whole noted in December 2020 he met with Councillor Redden “about the dump on Arlington Road.”
See also: Weekend video: Poisoned village
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