Setting the Record Straight: Comment on ‘Inside Toronto:’ “Moore Park residents opposed to new crematoria equipment”
In an attempt to write an even handed article regarding the new crematorium being built 16.5 meters from the nearest homes in Moore Park, Mr. Skinner has assembled information and taken statements from the community, Toronto City Councillors and Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries.
As a member of the community, it is most frustrating to read a blatant falsehood from MPGC: “to be honest, none of them wanted to speak to us.” What plausible would reason would the community have for avoiding a dialogue?
Members of the Crematorium Working Committee in Moore Park have tried three times in the last year, without success, to engage board members of MPGC with hopes of negotiating a ‘win-win’ solution for both sides.
To the first request, in June 2012, the President of the Mount Pleasant Group, Diane Chabot, responded in an email:
Regarding the crematorium and the interested group of citizens. ...Generally speaking, I am very uncomfortable with the notion of welcoming a group to share their views and then ignore those views because the decision to proceed has already been made, which is of course the case. I hope you can understand where I come from on this.... (As stated in April 2012) there is no alternative location for the crematorium.
The second request, in September 2012, was sent in a respectful letter by registered mail, individually to Board members, inviting them to a dialogue to consider moving the crematorium an acceptable distance from all residential neighbourhoods. That letter received no response.
The third time, in May 2013, when MPGC had been served notice that Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam was seeking leave to appeal the Ministry of Environment’s decision to grant the new crematorium a ‘Certificate of Approval,’ MPGC itself requested a meeting with the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), to whom the Moore Park community had appealed for ongoing support and advice. TEA responded by stating that a meeting should properly include the community given TEA’s role as intermediary. Several community members did agree to meet with TEA and MPGC board members, accompanied by our City Councillors. However, the offer to meet the community was withdrawn by MPGC via TEA on May 16th, 2013.
However, we the community still have questions for MPGC namely:
What is the rationale of the Board of Directors of Mount Pleasant Group of Cemeteries, including among others, such distinguished persons as David Crombie (civic builder and former Toronto Mayor) and Marilyn Emery (President of Women's College Hospital), for building an industrial incinerator within a residential neighbourhood with a 16.5 metre setback from homes where children live and play? How is it acceptable to continue to transfer known health risks to any community, let alone one that has already had 40 years of unabated incinerator emissions?
The Crematorium Working Committee
Readers are invited to sign and share the Parents Everywhere Against Crematorium Emissions (PEACE) online petition to “Move the Mount Pleasant Crematorium – Now!” at http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/move-the-mount-pleasant-crematorium-now.