By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Durham won’t be the only ones feeling the effects of the newly green-lit incinerator.
Speaking to regional council, Bob Sanderson, the mayor of Port Hope, voiced his concern with the Durham York Energy Centre and what is could mean for his community.
“Our municipality…is in the immediate fallout zone, given the prevailing winds go west, and your incinerator is to the east. Emissions can be far reaching, not only our community but on a global basis,” Sanderson said.
“I’m sure it is not the intent of this community to have an adverse effect on other communities, in this day and age of global contamination, we all need to be cognizant of our responsibility on a regional and global basis and make appropriate decisions in the broader interest of all.”
Port Hope is no stranger to incinerators. In July 2014, its council voted down an application for land rezoning that would have allowed Entech-REM to build an incinerator in Wesleyville. Entech-REM appealed the decision by council to the Ontario Municipal Board, but it was denied this past March, killing the project.
Despite not having an incinerator in its immediate surroundings, Sanderson says his community is still worried about the potential effect the Durham York Energy Centre approximately 40 kilometres away will have.
“On an economic perspective, this is within the 30-mile radius and that’s the primary where the fallout will occur from all these particles. I think that can affect our ability to attract people to our region,” the Port Hope mayor said.
“We already have other issues in our community with the low-level cleanup. I think health issues, specifically, will not become apparent right away. I think it is something that will show up through, perhaps, even decades.”
Sanderson said he is also sending out a resolution to other municipalities, calling on them to swear off incineration. Oshawa Councillor Nancy Diamond, however, says that such a motion would likely fail in Durham.
“I’m sure that you realize the difficulty that the majority…of the previous council voted to have the incinerator built in Durham. Those of us that oppose it have continually done so, but have not been able to garnish sufficient votes,” Diamond said while addressing Sanderson in council chambers.
“This puts us in a no-win situation in a neighbouring community in that those of us who have opposed incineration would wish to support your resolution, but it is unlikely that a council that collectively, by a majority vote, supported it, will do so.”
Sanderson responded that, at the end of the day, he wants to ensure that the region does its homework on incineration and works to make sure the incinerator works as promised not only for the sake of this region, but for his municipality as well.
“I’m not here to try to stop the incineration and make it go away. I am asking this council to do due diligence and make sure that the tests that are put forward are accurate and scientifically based,” he said.
“This plant is going forward, that’s a given. I don’t have any expectations about that, except to come here today and voice the fact that this not only affects Durham, but it affects communities around you.”