Bowing to pressure from thousands of residents, Durham Region has changed its mind about letting York Region build a sewage odour control facility in Pickering.
In a unanimous decision today, council agreed to tell the Ministry of the Environment they want the facility built in York, well away from the proposed location at Alton Rd. and Finch Ave. E.
"The message to York is, 'Take it and move it,'" Pickering Council Bill McLean said as area residents packed the council chamber at regional headquarters.
More than 4,500 people voiced their opposition in emails and petitions arguing that the odour-control facility that will treat the stench from York Region's sewage will foul the air, lower property values and pose a potential health risk.
The project is awaiting provincial government approval but McLean said council's decision today should "carry a lot of weight" in having the environment ministry tell York to look at possible sites there.
The facility, a joint project between York and Durham, is part of the expansion of the sewage system know as The Big Pipe. It would filter and release air flow from the trunk sewer, which takes raw sewage from York to the treatment plant in south Pickering.