Perth council OKs OMYA land transfer, Ottawa Citizen, September 29, 2005
Don't settle for proposed OMYA royalties, councillor tells Lanark, Ottawa Citizen, September 20, 2005
OMYA cleared of waste dumping, Ottawa Citizen, July 22, 2005
Marble in OMYA’s new quarry may be worth billions, Lanark Era, Dec. 14, 2004
OMYA loses bid to quash charges, Ottawa Citizen, November 17, 2004
Omya wants to dig up road for raw mineral, Ottawa Citizen, October 5, 2004

A Win for the Tay River, The Council of Canadians, January 18, 2004
Province cancels water-taking permits, Toronto Star, January 17, 2004
Immediate future of calcium carbonate plant not affected, administrator says, The Ottawa Citizen, January 2, 2004
Stop Soaking Ontario, Toronto Star Editorial, Dec. 22, 2003
Liberals freeze OMYA water deal, Ottawa Citizen, December 19, 2003
OMYA left high and dry by water decision, Ottawa Business Journal, Dec 19, 2003
No more free water as Ontario imposes moratorium on new extraction permits, Canada East, Dec. 19, 2003
Ontario may charge bottlers for water, Toronto Star, Dec. 18, 2003

UPDATE from CANADA regarding OMYA's waste case, October 29, 2003
85-year-old takes on Ontario, The Ottawa Citizen, Saturday, April 12, 2003
Press Release of Tay River Legal Defence Fund
OMYA faces illegal dumping charges in Canada, Rutland Herald , March 10, 2003
OMYA decree makes farce of due process, Ottawa Citizen , March 7, 2003
OMYA faced environment charges in Vermont, The Ottawa Citizen, February 28, 2003
Environment Ministry charges OMYA for polluting,, February 27, 2003
Environment charges laid at Swiss firm's quarry, The Ottawa Citizen, February 27, 2003
OMYA ruling opens floodgates to exports, The Ottawa Citizen, February 27, 2003
After water giveaway, airheads hatch a new plan, The Toronto Star column, February 25, 2003
Keep 'political hacks' away from water, The Ottawa Citizen, February 22, 2003
OMYA has 'perfect right' to water, The Ottawa Citizen, February 22, 2003
Massive water-taking from river defended, Canadian Press, February 22, 2003
OMYA donated to conservation group, The Ottawa Citizen, February 21, 2003
Stockwell defends water diversion, London News, February 21, 2003
Perth will pay for OMYA deal, group says, The Ottawa Citizen, February 20, 2003
A new political low, Perth Courier editorial, February 19, 2003
Still waters go cheap, The Toronto Star editorial, February 19, 2003
Provincial watchdog: Back off Tay River, The Ottawa Citizen, February 19, 2003
OMYA won't hurt the Tay: Stockwell, The Ottawa Citizen, February 19, 2003
Gray Palmer knows a thing or two about rivers, The Ottawa Citizen, February 19, 2003
Stockwell used good 'science': MPP, The Ottawa Citizen, February 18, 2003
McGuinty would cancel OMYA ruling, The Ottawa Citizen, February 18, 2003
Tay tribunal washed away, The Ottawa Citizen editorial, February 18, 2003
Ontario ignores Walkerton advice, The Ottawa Citizen, February 18, 2003
Tay River ruling ignores Walkerton, CBC Canada, February 18, 2003
Stop the raid on our precious water supplies: McGuinty, Canada News Wire, February 17, 2003
Ontario water taking ruling flies in face of Walkerton report,, February 17, 2003
Minister opens floodgates with water ruling, CBC Canada, Feb 17 2003
Water use decision in Canada is victory for OMYA, Rutland Herald, February 17, 2003
'We've been sold down the river', The Ottawa Citizen, February 16, 2003
Who's in charge here? The Ottawa Citizen, Sunday, February 16, 2003
OMYA gets approval to triple Tay River water take, Ottawa Citizen, February 15, 2003
Chris Stockwell's Valentine's gift: A slap in the face for citizens, Canada News Wire, February 14, 2003

Read the Ministry of the Environment Decision

Perth, Canada. February 20, 2002.
The Valentine's Day decision by Ontario Environment Minister Chris Stockwell, giving OMYA (Canada) Inc.almost everything it wanted in its quest for a permit to take 4.5 million litres of water from the Tay River near Perth, has provoked a storm of press attention and public protest both in Eastern Ontario and throughout the province.

The decision undermines the credibility and future effectiveness of Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights and of the Environmental Review Tribunal, which had issued a measured decision a year ago that balanced the company's need for water and the environmental and community concerns of many people in Lanark County and adjoining areas.

It also violates the government's own policy commitment - in the Ministry's Statement of Enviromental Values - to take a precautionary approach to environmental decision-making, as well as the province's commitments after the Walkerton disaster to protect water sources and watersheds in Ontario.

Following are links for e mail and fax communications with responsible Conservative members and ministers and with the Ontario Liberal and New Democratic Party leaders at Queen’s Park. The citizens and groups who have fought this battle for three years now would appreciate your support, in the form of e-mails and faxes to the Premier and other responsible leaders in the Ontario government and at Queen's Park.

For further information, please contact <> or <>.
Thanks for your support - Mike Cassidy & Carol Dillon

Hon. Ernie Eves, Premier, <>, fax 415-325-0803

Hon. Chris Stockwell, Minister of the Environment,
<>, fax 416-314-6790

Hon. Norm Sterling, MPP, Lanark Carleton, Minister of Transportation,
<>, fax 613 253-1175

Dalton McGuinty, leader, Ontario Liberal Party,
<> Fax 613 736 7374

Howard Hampton, leader, Ontario New Democratic Party,
<>, fax 416-325-8222

Gordon Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario,
<>, fax 416-325-3370

Letter to the Editor
OMYA should have to pay for study of Tay watershed
The Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday, January 07, 2003

OMYA set for daily pumping from Tay
The Ottawa Citizen
January 2, 2003

Opposition to OMYA's water request is broad, active and growing,
Limited data skew water-use analysis,
Letters to the editor, Ottawa Citizen,
Dec. 16 and Dec. 20, 2002
McGuinty urges review of water needs
Liberal leader says Ontario should limit OMYA's water-taking from Tay
The Ottawa Citizen
December 7, 2002

Eastern Ontario residents charge Ministry of Environment with flip-flop
Canada NewsWire
December 5, 2002
Advertisement by the Citizen Respondents

$6 gauge at issue in water fight
Toronto Star
December 5, 2002
OMYA wants to take 500% more water
The Ottawa Citizen
December 4, 2002
--Correction: December 5, 2002--
The Ottawa Citizen
Perth-based OMYA (Canada) Inc. has asked Ontario Environment Minister Chris Stockwell to approve a 400-per-cent increase in the amount of water it pumps from the Tay River each day for industrial uses. A story and headline on page B1 yesterday contained incorrect information.

Minister shuns legal advice on OMYA
Ottawa Citizen
September 27, 2002
OMYA still missing the mark
with its transportation study
Lanark Era
July 16, 2002
OMYA's quarry plans spark fears
Ottawa Citizen
July 11, 2002
Aerial photo of OMYA's Tatlock Quarry in Canada
A Mountain of Resistance
Ottawa Citizen
June 18, 2002
When a Dream Quietly Implodes
Ottawa Citizen
June 18, 2002
"We are not at war with Ontario," OMYA boss insists
Ottawa Citizen
June 5, 2002
OMYA declares war on Ontario
Ottawa Citizen
June 4, 2002

Secretive company has Perth in a huff
July 7, 2000, Ottawa Citizen

Environmental Review Tribunal

OMYA appeals Tay River decision
Ottawa Citizen, March 21, 2002

Water ruling disappoints OMYA boss
Ottawa Citizen, February 22, 2002

OMYA's victory watered down
Ottawa Citizen, February 21, 2002

Download the Environmental Review Tribunal's Decision
Issued February 20, 2002
.pdf file, 85 pages

Tay River decision months away
Tribunal to decide if OMYA's permit to take water is valid

Ottawa Citizen, November 1, 2001

Environmental Review Tribunal of Ontario
Oral Submission

Oct. 31, 2001

Stage set for water usage dispute
Ottawa Citizen, October 8, 2001

Eyes on Watershed

Editorial, Perth Courier, August 29, 2001

The wellspring of life, or just a commodity
Article, Ottawa Citizen, August 16, 2001

OMYA'S designs on Ontario water raise concerns
Rutland Herald, July 23, 2001

Articles from the Ottawa Citizen

Biologists not sold on OMYA plan
July 28, 2001
'One cannot remove volumes of water ... and not expect negative effects' expect negative effects'

Tay water deal 'premature'
July 26, 2001
Not enough known about watershed to give OMYA licence to remove water, federal official says

Federal officials review Tay
July 9, 2001
River permit Biologists measure impact to fish in watershed

Globe and Mail  
Saturday, May 05, 2001

Crisis is national, water experts say
Cryptosporidium, shown in this file photo (with a scale bar measuring 10 microns), is suspected in at least one of the recent deaths. Photo: US EPA-HO/CP

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Canada needs to undertake a national review of all aspects of its water resources in response to the country's second major water-safety crisis in less than a year, say many politicians, municipal leaders and environmentalists.

The calls are being made after a cryptosporidium outbreak this week in North Battleford, Sask., was linked to three deaths, bringing to 10 the number of Canadians who may have died in the past year because they made what is turning out be a fatal mistake in Canada — drinking their tap water.

But the deaths, highly visible and dramatic, are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Canada's water woes, according to many experts. Everything from the possibility that dangerous microbes are entering water supplies to the crumbling state of municipal water works requires a thorough examination.

"There is a dramatic need for a new federal water policy," said Paul Muldoon, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Defence Fund and one of the country's top water experts. "We need a national review of water policy, both on its quantity and quality, including the issue of money and how to rebuild the national water infrastructure."

The call is being echoed by others, who are united in a concern that Canada, which possesses nearly 10 per cent of the world's renewable freshwater, is squandering this valuable resource.

Liberal Senator Jerry Grafstein, who has introduced a bill to have federal regulation of drinking water, much like current oversight of drug safety, says people are losing confidence in the ability of provinces and municipalities to manage this resource.

"We won't really know the real scope of the problem, which I believe is greater than 700 communities," Mr. Grafstein said in an interview in his Toronto law office yesterday. "The problem is, nobody knows."

In the Commons, New Democrat MP Lorne Nystrom demanded the Liberal government introduce a new law that would create national water standards, but he was given few answers. Currently, the country has voluntary, and non-binding, federal water-safety guidelines.

Ottawa introduced a bill on water standards in 1997, but it was never passed.

Transport Minister David Collenette, sitting in for an absent David Anderson, the Environment Minister, said the issue was a priority, but dodged the question about national standards.

"The government believes that the improvement of our drinking-water supply and sewage treatment is an utmost priority," he said.

But the pressure for some kind of national action is growing.

The Sierra Legal Defence Fund released a study in January that said problems such as the one in Saskatchewan were inevitable, given the country's weak water regulations.

Randy Christensen, a lawyer who co-wrote the study, is pressing for a formal investigation of the country's water resources.

"There is a need to take a more holistic look at the way we manage water in Canada to ensure that it is safe for people to drink and that there is enough available to meet environmental needs," Mr. Christensen said.

An array of dramatic problems in recent years has made water a big political issue in almost all areas of the country.

Last year, a water-poisoning outbreak similar to the one in Saskatchewan killed seven people and made thousands seriously ill in Walkerton, Ont., in one of the world's worst E. coli outbreaks. The epidemic has made the farming town a national symbol of environmental contamination and damaged the image of Premier Mike Harris.

In Newfoundland, many drinking-water supplies are contaminated with cancer-causing trihalomethanes, while the province's Premier, Roger Grimes, is looking favourably on a controversial water-exporting scheme from Gisborne Lake.

The state of water supplies on many native reserves is a national disgrace, including one in northern Quebec where pets had to be given bottled water because area sources were so contaminated.

Boil-water advisories — a sign of water contamination — are common across the country.

In Ontario, a dangerous industrial solvent, trichloroethylene, has been detected in many municipal systems at levels that would cause regulators in the United States to shut the water systems down. But tens of thousands of residents in major communities, such as Cambridge, are allowed to use the contaminant-laced water under the lax provincial standards. The solvent has also been found in Quebec.

The amount of water available in Canada is also a concern. Some experts worry that global warming may be shrinking the stock of water in the Great Lakes, the mightiest freshwater ecosystem in the world, while some Canadians in Alberta and Ontario have recently been found trying to flog their spring water for profit over the Internet.

In Alberta, the government is so worried about scarce water supplies that it is considering allowing residents who hold water licences to buy and sell these extraction rights, permitting the kind of water trading that is common in parched areas of the United States.

In British Columbia, the province is involved in a huge lawsuit over its effort to prevent a company from making bulk water exports.

Environmentalists are fearful that Ontario's recent decision to grant Swiss-based mining company OMYA Corp. the right to take about 1.6 billion litres a year from the Tay River near Perth, and mix it with the minerals it processes, could lead to potential trade claims on the province's water.

Municipal water systems across the country are also in trouble. Many municipalities currently collect only enough from their customers to pay the operating costs of their system. Little or nothing is being set aside to fund the replacement of this infrastructure when it wears out, to say nothing of the improvements that will be required to bring treatment plants up to the standards needed to handle such new threats as cryptosporidium.

Recently, the head of Toronto's water works predicted charges to homeowners in many parts of the province would need to double or even triple — to perhaps as much as $1,000 annually per home — to provide the funds needed to maintain safe water and sewage systems.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that $16.5-billion will be needed over the next decade to keep national water works functioning. It is currently not clear where all of this money will come from, as the federal government, and large provinces such as Ontario, have stopped earmarking funds for water-treatment systems.

Those who have studied Canada's water situation say it is such a mess that nothing short of a national water policy is needed to fix it because there is such a hodgepodge of federal, provincial and municipal responsibilities that no one is really in charge.

"It's a very sad affair that we can't better co-ordinate water, even in our own province there isn't anyone responsible for water, I mean you've got about seven different ministries on various aspects of water," complained James MacLaren, who was a member of the last federal inquiry into water in 1985.

The Environment Review Tribunal issued its decision on the scope of the OMYA hearing on Wednesday, May 2, 2001--Download .pdf file and read the Tribunal's decision

Canadian couple take on OMYA in Ontario
April 23, 2001
Rutland Herald

April 14, 2001,
The Toronto Star  
Perth plant and political hypocrisy
Cameron Smith
A Swiss-owned plant just outside of Perth is poised to become the biggest producer of calcium carbonate in North America. But will that be good for Perth and the northern half of Lanark County? Or could it have bad side effects? And if there could be bad side effects, is there a way they could be eliminated? Or at least made bearable?
Incredible as this may sound, the Ontario government doesn't wantto know. It is trying to block such questions from being asked at a hearing to consider the expansion. Instead, it wants to limit the focus of the inquiry strictly to environmental issues.
These issues, though narrow, are important because the company, OMYA (Canada) Inc., wants a permit from the Ministry of the Environment to remove 4.5 million litres a day of water from the Tay River, a modest watercourse that feeds into the Rideau Canal system.
But there are wider issues at stake, and the province doesn't want to touch them with a ten-foot pole, even though its own Statement of Environmental Values, adopted by the Ministry of the Environment in 1995, makes a big thing about taking a comprehensive, integrated approach to decision making. The statement says:
``When making decisions, the ministry will consider: the cumulative effects on the environment; the interdependence of air, land, water and living organisms; and the interrelations among the environment, the economy and society.''
A permit to remove 4.5 million litres of water a day from the river would increase the amount used in the plant by five times. That would allow production at the plant to increase four to six times and, in turn, would allow OMYA's quarry, 30 kilometres north of the plant, to increase shipments of calcium carbonate to the plant by four times - up to 4 million tonnes a year.
Local residents estimate thatmoving this amount of material would require a truck travelling from the quarry to the plant about every three minutes - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long. And there would be similar traffic of empty trucks returning to the quarry.
There are multiple uses for calcium carbonate. When ground to a fine white powder, it is used in paint, pharmaceuticals, plastic, and building materials. When mixed with water to form a slurry, it is used in the pulp and paper industry to reduce or eliminate the use of chlorine or titanium oxide. It also reduces the amount of pulp needed to make paper by about 30 per cent.
Last August the environment ministry granted OMYA a permit to take water from the river. The residents, however, sought leave to appeal and in November the Environmental Review Tribunal granted leave. The appeal will be heard in June. But in the meantime, the ministry and the company brought motions to strike out all grounds of appeal that went beyond narrow environmental issues. A judgment on the motions will be delivered at the end of this month.
If successful, the appeal hearing will be barred from looking at the cumulative impact of huge expansions in the plant and quarry operations, and its effect on the community, roads, traffic, local aboriginal people, noise, air quality and the quality of life in general.
The ministry is relying on a technical legal argument to achieve this goal. It is saying that before such a broad look at impacts can be taken, the Statement of Environmental Values has to be specifically incorporated into legislation. And in the case of legislation governing water permits, it has not been incorporated.
Regardless of whether this is a sound legal argument, there's a large measure of political hypocrisy here that allows government members at Queen's Park to preen themselves by claiming the Statement of Environmental Values proves they care about sustainability, while at the same time they countenance efforts to ensure that the statement is not applied.
I find that cynical and sanctimonious.

Cameron Smith is an author and environmentalist living in Lansdowne, Ont.

The Ottawa Citizen
April 13, 2001
Crash victim had plans for big trip

The Perth Courier
April 11, 2001
Tribunal hears arguments on water taking,
Read about Omya in Lanark , Canada
April 6, 2001

The Ottawa Citizen
April 4, 2001
OMYA's use of water not export: lawyers

The Ottawa Citizen
April 3, 2001
Tay River permit could open NAFTA floodgate

The Ottawa Citizen
April 2, 2001
Tribunal sets scope for Tay River fight

Swiss firm wants to extract 4.5 million litres of water per day from river
Kelly Cryderman
The Ottawa Citizen; with files from Michael Petrou

A multinational company that plans to take 4.5 million litres of water a day from the Tay River near Perth will be challenged again today as a provincial tribunal resumes.

"It's the old, old story about a large corporation making a big footprint in a small community. And that story is being played out everywhere," says Carol Dillon, who with her husband, Melvyn, and a host of other appellants, have fought the plan since last year.

Over today and tomorrow, the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal will determine the scope of issues to be covered by the main portion of the review from June 25 to July 6.

The Tay River is part of a watershed that includes Bob's Lake, Crow Lake and Christie Lake. The river and chain of lakes are the main source of water for the Rideau Canal north of Perth. Last August, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment gave OMYA rights to take the water from the Tay -- first allowing the company 1.48 million litres a day until 2004, and after that, 4.5 million litres a day until 2010.

The company, which currently gets its water in much smaller volumes from wells in the area, plans to use the water to increase its production of "slurry" -- a watery calcium-carbonate mixture used to make glossy paper, drywall and toothpaste.

But in November 2000, a group including the Dillons, other individuals and the Council of Canadians, was granted leave to appeal the decision after the Environmental Review Tribunal found that the provincial government failed to take valuable river and watershed data into account before granting permission to take the water, and actually granted the company a permit to take more water than it had requested.

Olivier Chatillon, vice-president of OMYA's Perth factory, said his company has always respected the environment.

"We certainly have done all the necessary work to ensure that whatever we do we will never damage the environment. That is our policy," he said. "I really hope that reason will prevail for a good reason that not getting this permit will certainly impact seriously our operation, with all the local economic consequences."

Mr. Chatillon said OMYA provides 300 jobs, directly and through contractors the company hires.

This week, Newfoundland Premier Roger Grimes triggered a storm of reaction when he said he might allow the siphoning of fresh water from Gisborne Lake in eastern Newfoundland for bulk water export -- despite a Canada-wide accord against bulk water exports.

Although it wouldn't be a bulk export, Ms. Dillon says the Tay River water that would be used by OMYA (Canada) Inc., the Swiss-based mining and processing operation that wants to use it, "leaves the watershed and leaves the community."

Ms. Dillon says today and tomorrow could be important days, because the final outcome will determine what issues can be examined once the main part of the review gets under way.

The people appealing the water permit are saying other issues must be considered. "Like how many other users are there? What other demands are on the river?" Ms. Dillon says. There's "fish and recreational uses and the fact that this river is already heavily stressed by the demands of the Rideau Canal."

The Perth Courier
Perth, Canada
March 14, 2001 

Hearing for OMYA delayed further

Panel could meet as late as June

By  Gena Gibson
The appeal hearing for OMYA (Canada) Inc.’s water-taking permit has again been delayed – this time until late June.

The tribunal from the Environmental Appeals Board met in Perth on March 5 and 6 to listen to arguments from OMYA’s lawyers. The lawyers brought forward motions to quash the appeals and establish the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

The panel also dealt with procedural matters and the rights of two people who applied to become parties later in the process.

Appellant Carol Dillon of Bathurst Burgess Sherbrooke township said last week involved two long days of legal wrangling.

“The citizen appellants were scratching their heads most of the time,” she admitted. “We spoke when asked to, but it was mostly presentations by the two lawyers (for OMYA and the Ministry of Environment).

“This process is like trying to figure out the rules before we start the game, and while it is onerous, it is very necessary to ensure a fair hearing later on.”

OMYA administrator Ray McCarthy was unavailable for comment.

The appellants have been given the chance to respond to OMYA’s arguments when the tribunal members return to the county building April 2 and 3. The actual hearing is now set to take place from June 25 to July 6.

Ms. Dillon said frustration has surfaced over the lengthy process. However, she said tribunal vice-chair Pauline Browse pointed out the importance of this hearing and the need to do it right.

“In the five years of (the Environmental Bill of Rights’) existence, this is only the third time citizens have been able to get to the hearing stage,” Ms. Dillon explained. “Thus, the rules of the games have only been used twice before and are still being figured out.”

Because an appeal hearing is a rarity, Ms. Dillon said precedents would be set and used in other hearings.

“For that reason, the vice-chair is being very particular about the rules and procedures and making sure everything is not only done right, but where the rules are fuzzy, that she has full understanding so that her interpretations of them will stand scrutiny by many over time,” she said.

The constitutional rights brought up by the Council of Canadians offers another reason for the delay. The concern about the export of water and its implications under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as the failure to consult First Nations people about the water-taking permit, means the attorneys-general of Ontario and Canada must be contacted for their comments about constitutional rights.

“Let me just comment that it is all much more complicated and important than any of us thought, but we have not lost sight of our original objective: to get the best decision possible for the Tay River watershed,” Ms. Dillon stressed.

Ms. Dillon and her husband join seven other appellants, including the Council of Canadians, in objecting to the water-taking permit approved by the provincial environment ministry last August. The permit would allow OMYA to install a pumping station at the Tay River and take almost 1.5 million litres a day until 2004, with 4.5 million litres coming out of the Tay each day by 2010.

The Perth Courier

(From March 7, 2001 Edition)

Council of Canadians brings water, environmental issues to public

Citizens' group concerned about permit granted to OMYA by MOE

By  Stephanie Strachan
Water export and environmental issues topped the list of concerns during a public forum hosted by the Council of Canadians last Tuesday night.

Well over 100 people packed the upstairs room at the Perth library to hear and question a panel of speakers regarding the approval of a water-taking permit to OMYA (Canada) Inc. near Glen Tay.

The Council of Canadians is an independent, non-partisan citizens’ interest group which deals with national issues, such as the export of fresh water.

The council is one of eight organizations and individuals appealing the provincial Ministry of Environment’s approval of the permit, which would see 1.5 million litres removed from the Tay each day (and, ultimately, 4.5 million litres per day).

The Environmental Appeal Board has been hearing jurisdictional arguments this week, with the hearing slated to begin April 30 and run until May 4 at the county administration building on Sunset Boulevard.

The council’s water campaigner, Jamie Dunn, focused on the water export issue. He said there are loopholes in the North American Free Trade Agreement which place water resources in jeopardy and create major liability concerns.

Under NAFTA, he explained, U.S.-based companies (OMYA has headquarters in Vermont) are entitled to make a profit on their investments, which means they can sue the government if their ability to make a profit is hindered. A company can sue for its investment, as well as for lost profits in perpetuity.

“It seems like the government has signed away our rights,” Mr. Dunn said. “There’s a limited amount of water in watersheds and communities have to make decisions about what kind of industries to allow in.”

Steven Shrybman, a trade and environmental lawyer, criticized the Ontario government’s poor record of protecting the environment and water resources.

He read from the Ontario Commissioner of Environment’s report, which addresses inconsistencies in water-taking permits. He explained there is no central registry for approved permits, which means in some watersheds in Ontario the approved amount of water taking exceeds the volume of water in the watershed.

Mr. Shrybman said he doesn’t believe MOE knows how much has been approved in total for the Tay watershed, adding the province is not showing regard for the impact of water taken within an ecosystem.

Carol Dillon, a Glen Tay resident on the panel, expressed concern about the amount of water in the Tay.

She said the ministry received an unprecedented 283 letters regarding this permit, and stressed the appeal is not against OMYA, but against the environment ministry’s decision. “Most of all we don’t think they have enough information.

“It’s a faulty document and a faulty decision....We are looking for a good decision that will give us confidence in the years to come.”

Michael Cassidy, a Tatlock resident, was also part of the panel. His concerns centred around the county-wide costs of awarding the permit to OMYA. As production increases, he said, roads will deteriorate, resulting in decreased property values for affected residents and increased taxes in other parts of the county to offset that effect.

Jim Ronson of the Perth Community Association expressed concerns regarding river flow, bacterial counts and increased pressure on the river with forecasted new housing starts. He questioned OMYA’s willingness to suspend production when flow is low.

He noted Perth’s public utilities and the town council have requested written proof from MOE that the town’s water supply would not be affected by this permit.

Several attendees asked questions during the forum.

After outlining the issues, the panellists urged people to get involved by attending the hearing, joining one of the action groups that have standing at the hearings (such as the Perth Community Association) or talking to political representatives.

On May 1 the Environmental Appeal Board is slated to hold a public meeting, giving everyone an opportunity to get their comments on the official record. The council urged local residents to attend.

“It’s your community and your economy and you should have a say,” said Mr. Dunn.

Concerned citizens plan opposition to Tay River Water Withdrawal

Letter from Canadian Citizen

July 15, 2000, Ottawa Sun
River of contention
By Tom Van Dusen

  PERTH -- Olivier Chatillon flips open the cover of the freshly-minted report Existing Conditions and Trends in the Tay River Watershed and points proudly to the acknowledgements section.

 Right there in black and white, among those thanked for their "generous additional financial contributions" to the development of the Tay River Watershed Plan, is OMYA (Canada) Inc., the privately-owned international calcium carbonate processor.

 This spring, OMYA's Ministry of Environment application to pull a maximum 3,000 litres per minute from the Tay for the next 10 years worried conservationists, who felt the river -- which extends 95 km from Bob's Lake to the Rideau River -- couldn't stand the pressure.

 But it seems obvious to Chatillon, the processor's Perth vice-president and general manager, that if OMYA is the Tay River bad guy, the company wouldn't be sinking $85,000 into an environmental protection-focused watershed plan.

 "Why would we do something that could come back in our face like a boomerang?"

 Perhaps no other single user of the Tay, he says, has as much interest in the river's long-term health.

 While 3,000 litres a minute might sound like a lot, Chatillon insists it must be put into context.

 The per-minute volume of the river can range from about 420,000 litres to a high of 1.5 million; and at OMYA's recommendation, a restriction has been included that no water will be extracted if the flow falls below 30,000 litres.

 At that point, OMYA would revert to the seven wells just west of here it is permitted to pull 600 litres per minute from.

 It's not that the Tay River Watershed Plan committee -- which co-ordinated production of the new report -- was necessarily insisting on no extraction at all; the point is, said vice-chair David Taylor, nobody has sufficient information to determine the long-term impact of the plan.


 Taylor and his colleagues are waiting just as anxiously as OMYA to see how the Ministry will handle the dilemma.

 A decision is still at least two weeks away.

 "Some of the more contentious applications take longer to resolve," said Clyde Hammond, Kingston-based supervisor for the Ministry's water resources unit.

 In the interim, OMYA has been trying to enhance its image as a protector of water resources in general and the Tay River in particular.

 For the past several years, a multi-million dollar expansion has taken mineral processing at OMYA out of the dark ages, both technically and environmentally.

 It's now an entirely enclosed facility with a direct and indirect financial impact on the Perth area of about $20 million a year, Chatillon boasts.

 Perhaps the greatest value, says former reeve Bryce Bell, is the 130 mostly high-end jobs -- $45,000-$55,000 a year -- provided in one of Ontario's most depressed communities.

 Bell, who's now on the company payroll 2 1/2 days a week working on community relations, suggests much of the opposition to OMYA's Tay extraction request comes from people who enjoy the luxury of not having to earn a living in the area.

August 29, 2000, The Ottawa Citizen
Water-taking permit will serve our business and community
by Olivier Chatillon

OMYA (Canada) Inc. applied earlier this year to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) for a water-taking permit that would allow us to build a long-term water pumping station on the Tay River. After public consultations, professional studies and a rigorous government review, our application has been approved.

OMYA is a calcium carbonate crushing facility and water is an essential element in the production of some of our product. Increased demands from our customers means increased activity at the plant and a greater need for water.

We are proud members of the community. Informing our neighbours of our plan is essential to our philosophy as a company. Simply put, we believe if it does not benefit our neighbours as well as OMYA, it is not in our plan.

Throughout the application process, OMYA carefully considered and responded to concerns raised by individuals and organizations. As a result, our permit includes the following conditions:

- OMYA will monitor and record river flows by installing a new gauge at or near the intake site, and will provide this data to the MOE and other authorized agencies upon request;

- OMYA will cease all pumping if the river flow at the intake location goes below one cubic metre/second;

- OMYA will retain the services of a qualified ecological consultant to assess the river habitat during low-flow periods;

- OMYA will assist with the establishment and operation of a river management program that will maintain water flow during low-flow periods.

The long-term permit allows a maximum of 3,125 litres per minute to be taken from the Tay River. Compare this with the river's flow of 450,000 litres to 1.5 million litres per minute. You can see that OMYA's share is minimal and will have little effect on the river's upstream watershed and lakes.

We have also invested $85,000 in an environmental protection plan to ensure the river's healthy future for all of us in this community.

We will do everything we can to preserve and protect the environment.

We believe this permit will allow us to better run our business and thus better serve the community. We not only work in the community, we live here too. Of our 140 employees, 125 are local residents. OMYA is a major financial force, contributing more than $20 million to the region this past year. That amount will only grow as the company continues to expand and provide good paying jobs for more people.

Our determination to give back to the community was recognized in 1998 when OMYA Canada received the Business Achievement Award from the Perth Chamber of Commerce. The plaque celebrates our entrepreneurial spirit and our commitment to the community and our shared environment. We proudly display this award in the front lobby of our administration building for everyone to see.

Olivier Chatillon,
Vice-President and General Manager OMYA (Canada) Inc.

11/20/2000: OMYA faces opposition in Canada Rutland Herald

February 9, 2000