By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
It appears at long last the region will begin to record and live stream meetings of the Energy From Waste-Waste Management Advisory Committee.
It was almost a year ago when regional council set the wheels in motion for the meetings to be recorded, however, as noted at the latest meeting by Clarington Councillor Joe Neal, it has yet to begin. The main responsibility for the committee is the Durham York Energy Centre and receives and reviews all reports pertaining to the incinerator.
“[The resolution] went to the advisory committee and they adopted it after considerable discussion,” Neal says.
Neal, along with Oshawa Councillor John Neal, put forth a motion to adopt the committee’s recommendation, which passed by a vote of 25-1, with Pickering Councillor Kevin Ashe as the lone vote against.
John Neal said, especially in the winter months, it is difficult for some residents to make it to the evening meetings, which are held at the region’s headquarters in Whitby.
Suggesting the recording/streaming of meetings would add to the “transparency” of the committee, Joe Neal suggested a number of high-priority topics, such as increasing capacity at the Durham York Energy Centre and anaerobic digestion, will be discussed heavily by committee members this year.
In terms of expenditures, it was estimated recording the meetings would cost the region $300 an hour per meeting (plus overtime costs for employees). The EFW-WMA committee generally meets four times annually.
Commissioner of works Susan Siopis noted that some employees of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) who work with the committee have voiced uneasiness about having to speak on camera.
“It’s not their usual forum,” Siopis said.
However, Oshawa Councillor Amy McQuaid-England said those ministry employees would need to learn to live with the situation.
“Maybe they should be in a different line of work. I don’t think we should be compromising what the public know simply because people on a public committee don’t want to contribute publicly.”
Pointing out the meetings are already open to the public, Pickering Councillor David Pickles said he couldn’t “understand why MOECC staff will be unwilling to speak.”