25 Mar 2007

Clarington will be incinerator dumping ground - wanna bet?

A couple of stories this week have pegged Clarington as the likely place for the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator. The Toronto Star article "Waste not, want not, for new power" (March 24) states that 4 of the 5 sites on the "short list" for the incinerator are in Clarington. Big surprise. You should also read the Metroland story, "Clarington takes four spots in energy-from-waste site short list" (March 23).

It is no secret that York Region would prefer to have this incinerator in Durham Region. Durham Regional Council would prefer to have it out of the way in Clarington, and funny thing, that's where the sites on the short list are located. Two in Courtice, and two in Bowmanville. We'll take bets on where it eventually ends up. Odds are it will be Courtice, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which the fact that our Council will be easily convinced by Durham Region that the plant should be located within Clarington, to begin with, and the fact that the water pollution control plant is located there and there is room, plus it is a bit closer to the other municipalities to the west for them to dump their garbage there. Still, the Bennett Road area in south Bowmanville is an attractive site for the incinerator too.

We're not worried about it though, since Chairman Anderson has declared that, "the smoke that comes out of the top is as clean as possible". So, as clean as possible? What does that mean? Sure it's cleaner than the old incinerators, but then again, we have no idea yet which technology will be used. Will it be the very latest and best, most efficient? Or will it be the most financially attractive type? Chair Anderson also says it will be "attractive and an addition to any area". Then why push it out to Clarington, when we're sure Pickering/Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa are all clamouring to host it themselves. Lucky Clarington.

From the Toronto Star, "I'm surprised that Clarington has been isolated as the only location in Durham," Clarington Mayor Jim Abernethy said yesterday. (March 23)

Why would he be surprised? No one else who lives in Clarington is.

Though he is on the record as favouring incineration, he said there will need to be "extensive public consultations" in the next while. "We have to really understand what is involved with being a host community," he said. "No one really wants this in their backyard."

Public consultations? Like those that have taken place regarding the funding request for Bowmanville Hospital? Public consultations like those refused by Council on the issue of direct election of Durham Region Chair? They will make up their own minds, regardless of what the public has to say about it - we already know that.

A public meeting is set for April 12 at the Beech Centre in Bowmanville. Why not at Garnet Rickard and Courtice Community Centre where previous public information centres were held? Why have one in Bowmanville (two sites on the short list) but not one in Courtice where there are also 2 sites on the short list? And will anybody really listen anyway?

Regional councillor Charlie Trim, who also backs incineration, expressed similar surprise. "I just thought there would be three sites in each region," said Trim. "We haven't seen the detail. The detail is what is important."

No, what is important is the rhetoric put forth by our powerful Regional Chair, and those regional councillors who want the incinerator, but not in their backyard. They will fairly easily convince our 3 regional representatives (Abernethy, Trim and Novak) that hosting it will be oh so beneficial for Clarington. They will be convinced of how desirable it will be to build it in our municipality, whether at Courtice Road or Bennett Road. Our regional councillors will fall for it hook, line and sinker. Just like they fell for the arguments made by the region to keep the status quo on election of the chair.

And who will host the ash (waste from the incinerator)? Clarington again, or will one of the other municipalities step up and take on that responsibility? I know, silly question.

The report detailing the sites is supposed to be released to the public Monday morning (March 26) at www.durhamyorkwaste.ca. It's not there yet, but there are other bits of information available at that site.

So, are we confident that what is best for Clarington will be done? No, we are not. Not when we have a council that is not accountable to the public (so far) and has shown itself, in its very short time in office to date, to be unwilling to seriously listen to both pros and cons of any issue. They will listen to those who say what our Council wants to hear. They will find a way to ignore what they don't want to hear. They are a huge disappointment so far (the majority of council, save just a couple). They are being manipulated by our region and don't even realize it. By the time they wake up and listen to the residents of Clarington, we hope it will not be too late.
All we are asking is that this council wake up and take notice of what its residents have to say for a change. By all means, get all the information, all the facts. But do not be swayed by those with an agenda that may benefit themselves but not be best for Clarington. Do we want this incinerator in Clarington? Do we even have enough information to make an informed decision? We hope that this time our councillors will do some real fact finding instead of being convinced by those who do not have the best interests of Clarington at heart. We remain hopeful, but not confident at this point.


  1. I have absolutely no faith in this bunch of know-it-alls. Maybe a couple of them have a future but the majority don't have a clue when they are being manipulated. I live in south Courtice and I'll bet that incinerator ends up not far from me. Just like that water pollution plant.

  2. Aren't you being too harsh on this new Council? We elected them so we are to blame for not choosing better. They are only doing what they think is best for them, nevermind what is best for us as constituents. Will they learn to listen in the next four years? We can only pray that they do.

  3. Somebody has to be harsh. If we let them get away with it with no consequences to them, they'll keep doing it over and over again. Personally, I think you're being too kind. The council has to wake up and smell the roses. They did a horrible job on the budget and have made some very questionable decisons. And they sound like amatuers sending a letter to the province saying they are vehemently anything. Not the content of a business letter. It sounds like little kids having a tantrum.

  4. They don't seem to care, Warren. They made that clear last week when they ignored all delegations as well as the phone poll with a huge majority in favour of helping with the funding for our hospital. Then also ignored requests from other residents for a public meeting on another issue.

    If they don't listen and don't care what the public thinks, then why pretend the do? They're bad actors, most of them. And the mayor needs to get a backbone.

  5. I wish we didn't have to wait 4 years for a chance at replacements.

  6. What will happen to Councillor Foster's plan to have more access for residents to the waterfront in Courtice? Gone with the wind (or the incinerator). First the water plant, now the incinerator? Lovely waterfront for Courtice residents, if I do say so. I wonder what is next.

  7. Courtice is a planning mess. Why not give them this too? No downtown, no gateway, but has Darlington, water pollution control plant, and will end up with incinerator. Dumping ground for Clarington and for the Region. Why not? Who cares about Courtice? Councillors should care, with such a high population and growing. Next election they'll find out why they should care.

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  9. I disagree with everything everyone is saying. I'm 100% for the incinerator. It's all of us who elected them as our council. They're doing the best they can and what they think is right. The insinerator withh be burning the waste that NOBODY wants, and creating energy that everybody needs. It's getting rid of what we dont need and providing us with what we do. No matter where they put it, it's going to be doing the same thing and everyone will have their own opinion about it but in the end it's not us who decide.

  10. Incineration is not a cheap way to make power, it's a **really** expensive way to minimize waste. And.. you get a toxic landfill in the deal. The fly ash is far to poisonous for standard landfill. It also requires paper and plastic as fuels in order to meet stack temperatures necessary to meet emission standards; these are the two most valuable resources from recycling. The initiative for incineration is completely counter-intuitive to waste reduction and recycling and quite frankly, the atmosphere just doesn't need the extra stress. In the Clarington area for example, the airshed is already at capacity - there is no 'headroom' for more effluent from incineration.

    All this before we talk about dioxins.

    Bad idea - step away from the edge, here folks.

  11. i don't think it's fair it should be up to us when they die we have to live on this planet. we should have a say and i say it's going to kill us and this planet faster than what we are doing.littering, useing dumps, and last but not least polluting

  12. The Durham York Energy Centre is not an incinerator; it is an Energy-from-Waste facility

    The Durham York Energy Centre will achieve the following environmental:
    •Greenhouse gas reductions
    •Preserving natural landscapes by avoiding the need to build new landfills
    •Eliminating long-term risks to groundwater from landfill leachate
    •Reducing truck traffic for waste
    •Improving recycling rates through recovery of ferrous and non-ferrous metals
    •Generating clean electricity

    Where do you people think the electricity comes from when you turn your lights on this is the future

  13. The electricity comes from Darlington and Pickering Nuclear Plants. Not from the Durham York incinerator. It is only now beginning commercial operation. In 2014 it was behind schedule (and over budget).

    On most of the other stuff, you're also wrong. Very wrong. You have bought into the industry spin which is dishonesty and innuendo at its worst.