THE HISTORY OF MANUFACTURING ON SHANLEY ST. IN KITCHENER

By  | July 1, 2019 | 0 Comments | Filed under: uncategorized

Frankly I was shocked. While not a large industrial site by any means, the length, variety, and duration of manufacturing in the midst of a residential area was very surprising to me. Rych Mills, historian, wrote an article titled “100 years of manufacturing on Shanley Street”. It was published in the Waterloo Region Record two days ago. We the public have been advised that the main contaminant on the site is trichloroethylene (TCE) but to me that is like suggesting that the main risk from an atom bomb is the initial shock wave. Not mentioning fire, heat, or radiation is just plain ridiculous. This site has manufactured furniture with multiple different companies. It has also manufactured store counters, wall bins, floor racks and display units. Lastly Morval Durofoam, ending in 1991, produced plastic and foam components for cars as well as specialty packaging products.

Each and every one of these manufacturers may have added their own particular varnishes, paints, solvents, metal cleaning agents, acids, and plastics to the mix of whatever is below the ground surface on that site. The article does mention “migrating pollutants” although no specifics are made as to how far they’ve gone or their toxicity.

This I can tell you. Based upon my thirty years of observing, interacting, and dealing with the Ontario Ministry of Environment I would find it astonishing if they have any more than a rudimentary understanding of the sub-surface contaminant hydrogeology or the current health risks associated with that property. That this kind of manufacturing enterprise could be allowed in a residential neighbourhood decades to a century ago is beyond belief. That it has not been studied carefully and the technical results released to the neighbours and public is shocking. No good ever comes from keeping problem areas hidden.

This could end up being another Bishop St. community in Cambridge where hundreds of homes were impacted by TCE from Northstar Aerospace and Rozell Mfg. Clearly our authorities have learned nothing from past environmental disasters and crises.

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