While most people recently have been, focused on news south of the border, hurricanes, the Trump presidency etc., for the residents of Durham an event that is happening this week is certainly newsworthy. That being the long awaited annual general meeting of the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA), where citizens of the community may finally learn about the cancelled Farm Tech ethanol plant and why the Port Authority will now have to pay Farm Tech more than $4 million dollars.
When the ethanol plant was given the green light back in August of 2012, by the OPA which had only been established in January of that year, it was done so without consulting city council or residents of the community. The federal government appointments to the board of the authority all voted in favour of the ethanol plant and the only objection to it was the city appointee.
When the ethanol plant proposal was approved by the OPA, it was suggested that cronyism may have played a part in the decision as 4 of the 5 federal appointees to the authority had ties to a cabinet member of the Harper government.
Was there a conflict of interest by members on the board? Why was approval for the ethanol plant given in such haste? Why was there no consultation with city council or the community and most important how does the OPA plan to pay Farm Tech the $4.2 million dollars when operating revenue at the port is only around $1.7 million.
These are all questions that need to be answered in addition to questions about future development of the Oshawa waterfront. The current OPA’s vision was clearly not what the residents of this community wanted. Perhaps it is time for the federal government to review the actions of their appointees to the Board and replace them with individuals whose visions for the future of the Oshawa waterfront will be shared by the residents of the community.