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October 01, 2006

Odours Are Public Nuisance: Newmarket Gets Injunction

On September 29 the Town of Newmarket won a significant legal judgment to eliminate composting odours that had distressed workers and residents for two years. Ontario Superior Court Justice Bryant found that the defendant company, Halton Recycling, had caused a public nuisance by emitting odours that caused extensive disturbance for its neighbours. Justice Bryant ordered Halton Recycling to shut down its operations if it fails to carry out its proposed plan to eliminate off-site odours within 90 days. The shut-down order would last for nine months. Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP Counsel Marc McAree and Vivienne Ball represented the Town during the nine-day hearing. This is the first court decision under section 433 of the Municipal Act, 2001. The provision allows a municipality to apply to the court for an injunction closing premises for up to two years where the court finds that there is a public nuisance that has a detrimental impact on the use and enjoyment of property in the vicinity, and the owner failed to take adequate steps to eliminate the nuisance. Justice Bryant found that the Town had received over 1,000 complaints over the past two years from people who worked or lived around the Halton facility. He found that the odours were so unpleasant or unbearable as to constitute an adverse effect and a public nuisance. Municipalities across Ontario will be very encouraged by this reaffirmation of their power to regulate environmental and health-related nuisances to protect the people who work and live in their communities.

Click here to download the decision.

Counsel: Marc McAree – (416) 862-4820