We have a guest blogger today, Jim Richards from Orono, ON. Below is his letter, and what he says makes a lot of sense.
To the Editor, (Orono Weekly Times) and to Clarington Watchdog:
In response to your excellent Editorial (The smell is getting worse) on 3 Feb. 2016, I submit the following comments, and preface each by stating in advance, that they are subject to 'in my opinion', one of the remaining rights we still have in a free and democratic society after 10 years of Federal PC rule.The issue of incineration vs aggressive recycling arose during the local election in 2006. Thereafter, it became a major issue and has remained so until this day. No doubt it will be with us for the next 2-3 decades as class action suits will undoubtedly follow when cancer and respiratory rates in Port Hope, Clarington, Oshawa and beyond start to increase.Who to blame: Well, we could start with our Regional Chair, Roger Anderson who' bullied' this project through the Regional Council at the time. Even when the ill-informed (ignorant for the most part) elected officials, who should have been looking out for not only our health concerns as well as our financial welfare, continued to vote this scam forward, (and that includes representatives like former Mayor Jim Abernethy, and Regional Councillors Charlie Trim, Mary Novak and Local Councillor Gordie Robinson), in the face of mounting evidence that this was a costly (in more ways than one) move, we continued down the path of smoke and mirrors from the incinerator business, their lobbyists, and the very consultants Durham Region hired to do the oversight (who are members of the incinerator coalition)! The farce was supported too by Durham Region staffers who were taking their orders from political bosses (who are elected to represent the public) and not the public (who they are hired to serve).We then experienced a municipal election in 2010 where local Councillors Adrian Foster and Willie Woo, strong opponents of incineration for four years, ran for the Mayor's seat and a Regional seat respectively. With major door-to-door and financial help from the anti-incineration group, they were elected; but to no avail. I'm embarrassed to say that I worked very hard to see both of these two duds elected. Shortly afterwards, both of them flip-flopped, and started to go along with Anderson and his cronies to support the burner. To suggest that they are liars might find me in court, so suffice it to say, they were not telling the truth.We were promised by Anderson, et al, that we would get the "best of the best", "on time and on budget". Well guess what: we did not get the best of the best, we got a 'royal screwing', and it was 13 months late and several millions of dollars over budget as pointed out in your editorial.I would also like to point out that while the former Provincial government did nothing to assist, the current Liberals in QP are doing even less. It is shameful, and something for you to think about in the next Provincial election. Their oversight has been woefully lacking, and not in keeping with the BS they are now trying to force down your throat about their concerns about climate change and the like, and that they actually care.... it's their back door to more taxes!A few months ago, Covanta conducted a series of tests, and it showed that two of the deadliest compounds known to mankind, dioxins and furans (according to the World Health Organization) were four times the acceptable limit ( and by the way, those limits are decades old). Was Covanta or Durham Region told to shut down the "state-of-the -art" burner; no, they were given a chance to conduct another test. Excuse me if I seem skeptical, but given that opponents had asked for pre-sorting of the crap going into the burner (and were refused) I cannot help but wonder if Covanta perhaps carefully sorted the trash going into the burner prior to the second test (just an idle thought....). In any event, to no surprise, they passed the second test. They were now almost near their goal.In order to mask the high readings of dioxins and furans, Covanta added yet more chemicals to the mix. Yes, to be sure, they were able to meet the rigged (in my opinion) test, but surpassed the amount of ash being produced. Roger Anderson and his political puppets made a big noise about making Covanta adhere to the original agreement, but once Covanta suggested a legal confrontation, Anderson et al. backed down, and have now given Covanta the green light to shaft us in ways we have not yet experienced. On the internet, you will find evidence of Covanta bankrupting municipalities in the US.From start to finish, this entire sham, shrouded in secrecy has been a circus and a disaster for you the taxpayers in terms of health and the environment. My advice (for you and your children and grandchildren) in the future, is to "follow the money". Maybe someday we will get to the bottom of this scam. Think of the Mark Twain adage "We have the best politicians money can buy".Your editorial goes on to say that our Mayor (Foster) and Regional Councillor (Woo) voted against the final agreement that paved the way for Covanta to usurp millions per year for decades, including all of our Federal gas tax rebate dollars that are intended for infrastructure spending (roads, bridges and the like). I would like to point out that Mayor Adrian Foster and Reg. Councillor Willie Woo only voted against the final proposal because they did not get what they wanted in terms of other items contained in the "host community agreement; it was not because they opposed the air, water and soil pollution that will become the legacy of the Durham Region's " mistake by the lake", and the price we will all pay in terms of health and dollars in the coming years to support Covanta. Check them out on Google if you want to see their labour and environmental record. Only Reg. Councillor Joe Neal voted "no".By the way, the 16 or more million dollars from the gas tax rebate, that is now being given to Covanta, will require that your taxes will go up to pay for the infrastructure items it was intended to help with. As long as you the taxpayer ignore this fact, your Regional Chair, Mayor Foster, Reg. Councillor Woo and others will claim that the burner is not costing us any additional money in the form of taxes; it's the road repairs..... Wake up ratepayers! Think about this as you get your property tax forms about 1 year from now. In a few years from now we will witness a spike in cancer rates, birth defects and the like in Durham Region. There will be class action suits to accompany this travesty, and if you need a list of who to include, let me know!Jim RichardsOrono, ON