The Observer reports that Woolwich Council has turned down funding for the Bio-en Community Liaison Committee (CLC).
The agreement reached by Bio-en and the Elmira Bio-Fuel Citizens’ Committee (the appellants in the appeal against the MoE approval of the biogas plant) requires Bio-en to supply a $25,000 letter of credit, conditional on getting matching funds from either the Township of Woolwich or the public. The funds are to be used
for the payment of technical engineering or scientific advice about or review of the operation of the facility.
Council’s refusal to work with Elmira’s citizens isn’t entirely unexpected. They refused to launch an appeal, saying
getting expert evidence would be problematic […] expensive and time-consuming. That’s precisely why the CLC needs funding. But when Elmira citizens launched an appeal at their own expense, then Council was happy to request presenter status at the hearing instead. And although Council was invited to the appeal negotiations, the arbitrator noted in the Environmental Review Tribunal report that
Despite the invitation, municipal representatives did not attend either meeting, however.
Council says their position is not to turn over public money to a group they don’t control. That says a lot about their motives — control. Their motive is certainly not to provide a public committee of Woolwich citizens with support. As Alan Marshall notes, this is a fine bit of hypocrisy. If public funds aren’t to be used for funding the public, what’s it for? Oh yes, control.
I hope that the CLC can raise the matching funds. Without funds for technical reviews the CLC becomes just a token gesture, toothless and useless as a watchdog over another industrial juggernaut rolling through Elmira.