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Investigation into pair of incinerator meetings complete

No timetable on when report will be brought to regional council, made public

Incinerator

An investigation into meetings dealing with the Durham York Energy Centre has been completed. However, it remains unknown when the report will be brought to council and, therefore, made public.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

An investigation into whether two meetings held by the region were improperly closed has been completed. However, what the report says or when it will be made public remains unknown.

Nigel Bellchamber of Amberley Gavel, which handled the investigation, tells The Oshawa Express that the report has been completed and will be sent to the region soon.

Prior to the report being made public, regional council must review it. When asked by The Oshawa Express as to whether council will reconvene for a session in the summer or wait until fall to deal with the report, Sherri Munns, the director of communications for the office of the regional chair, says there is currently no planned timetable.

“We have no information as to when the region will receive a response on this item. Once we do, following our own review, we will be reporting to council,” Munns stated in an email.

The Oshawa Express first learned of the investigation in April, which came following two separate complaints into meetings held on Dec. 22, 2015 and Jan. 27 in regards to the Durham York Energy Centre.

On Dec. 22, the regional committee of the whole – comprised of all regional councillors – met in a closed meeting at regional headquarters to discuss the incinerator. According to minutes of the meeting posted to the Region of Durham’s website, councillors received a confidential verbal update on acceptance testing for the incinerator.

The day following the meeting, the region announced that Covanta, the operator of the incinerator, had not passed its acceptance testing, citing that the facility had produced more ash than was acceptable under the contract between the region and the operator.

On Jan. 27, following a meeting of regional council, the committee of the whole again met behind closed doors to discuss the incinerator. Following that meeting, regional council reconvened, and voted to amend the contract between Durham and Covanta, allowing the operator to produce more ash.

As a result, the incinerator was given the go ahead to go into commercial operation the following day.

Regional councillors will return to work on Sept. 7 for a meeting of the committee of the whole – the first meeting under a new pilot project that will see all standing committees meet in one day. The first meeting of regional council following the summer recess is scheduled for Sept. 14.