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Answers to port financial woes may come at AGM

Questions to come on $4.1 million ethanol settlement

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

As the Oshawa Port Authority meets for its annual general meeting tomorrow there will be more than a few residents and city councillors seeking answers as to how the port will deal with a more than $4 million settlement related to the cancelled ethanol plant.

The defunct project led to a closed-door arbitration between the port and FarmTech Energy, the company meant to build the facility on the Oshawa waterfront, and earlier this year it was made public that a settlement of $4.1 million has been reached.

That dollar amount, according to the recent audit of the port’s financials, has them in a slightly precarious position and “casts significant doubt upon the Port Authority’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Previously, Gary Valcour, the chair of the port authority board has said they are looking at all possible options in order to be able to pay off the settlement.

“Overall, it’s distressing in the sense that you don’t like to see that sort of number, but at the same time, it’s a one-off, one item issue,” he said. “The board is looking at it, we’re talking to all of our stakeholders and reviewing what our options are.”

The potential options have some councillors a little worried about a possible repeat situation of when the ethanol plant was controversially approved in 2012, despite strong objection from the city.

“If it does happen that they do something silly, like crushed rocks or stuff like that, that are going to cause a lot of dust and noise and possibly prohibit our involvement, the city, and with other developers to develop that, then obviously I would have some very deep concerns,” Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki previously stated.

The AGM runs tomorrow (Sept. 14), starting at 11 a.m. at the Jubilee Pavilion.