CLC Meeting, 1 April 2014

No fooling, there’s a Community Liaison Committee meeting tonight. There’s still no agenda on the Bio-en Communications page; hopefully it will be available later today. Also, the minutes from the last meeting are not yet on the Bio-en CLC Minutes page either.

Some interesting issues were raised at the last meeting, notably the change in scope of the MOE REA to include a wider range of feedstock, a doubling of the allowed truck traffic to 160 “movements” per day, and use of the generated biogas as a vehicle fuel. This has raised a number of questions which will be put forward by the CLC to Bio-en tonight.

I’ll be at the meeting; see you tonight!

–Bob.

What: Bio-en Community Liaison Meeting
When: Tuesday, 1 April 2014 starting at 7:00pm (iCal)
Where: Meeting Room 1, Woolwich Memorial Centre, 24 Snyder Avenue South, Elmira (Map)

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Notes from the CLC Meeting, 4 March 2014 by Alan Marshall

I was unable to attend the Bio-en CLC meeting on Tuesday, 4 March 2014. Alan Marshall of the Elmira Advocate has kindly given me permission to re-post his meeting notes here.

–Bob.

Woolwich Bio-en Citizens Liaison Committee

Last evenings 7 pm. meeting was held in meeting room #1 at the Rec Centre on Snyder Avenue in Elmira. The next meeting is scheduled for the same time and location for April 1, 2014. The biggest change in attendance last evening was the asppearance of three local Ministry of the Environment officials namely Jane Glassco, Amy Shaw and Jackie Lamport. To my surprise the M.O.E. were on the receiving end of a very pointed criticism late in the meeting by Earl Brubacher.

We were advised that the construction is essentially completed. One engine was test fired Monday and the other one yesterday. The power plant should be finished by the end of the week. I’m going out on a limb here but I believe I understood that the digester tanks will be filled by either the middle or the end of this month. Jackie Lamport of the M.O.E. suggested that depending on wind direction Woolwich Bio-En might wish to wait a day or two for favourable conditions before either agitating or filling tanks with odourous material such as manure. Chairman Earl Brubacher politely advised her that they do have a deadline from the Ontario Power Authority of May 4/14 to get into production.

There was a discussion again in regards that a Letter of Credit to the Citizens liason Committee from Bio-En would require them to be either incorporated or somehow a legal entity. Chuck Martin had looked into this for Woolwich Bio-En. it was agreed that Robert Musselman of the CLC would do further investigating of this matter.

Earl Brubacher discussed at length several amendments to the REA (renewable energy act) that Woolwich Bio-En will be seeking. These include the option of selling the gas produced, for use in natural gas vehicles. Arrangements have been made for Elmira Truck Service to be the retailer for Bio-En. Some trucks come from the factory ready to go with natural gas and others require a conversion kit.

Another amendment required deals with another new 250 KW local farm customer. There are also plans for the selling of heat possibly for a future development on 50 acres just to the east of the Bio-En location.

Changes to feedstocks into the process also require REA amendments. Things like paper sludge, industrial/commercial/institutional wastes, wet wheat, elevator grains and even mushroom waste are being considered.

It was at the end of the meeting that the Chair raised his concerns about what he viewed as a “not very ethical” change put into Bio-En’s operating conditions by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. This change was in regard to the number of truck movements on site per day. Earl quoted the number of 80 truck movements per day. As I understand it there are a couple of different ways to interpret 80 truck movements and clearly Earl Brubacher felt that a misinterpretation had taken place. Later in the evening, after the meeting, I received a call from a local citizen who had a different understanding than Earl Brubacher’s. I am hopeful that this issue will be fully aired and clarified sooner than later.

This post was copied from the Elmira Advocate: Woolwich Bio-en Citizens Liaison Committee with permission from Alan Marshall

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Agenda for CLC Meeting, 4 March 2014

The Community Liaison Committee (CLC) meeting minutes from 6 January 2014 were posted on the Bio-En CLC Meeting Minutes page last week. The PDF files on that page don’t contain text, but images of scanned documents. This makes it difficult for them to be read by people who use text-to-speech readers, and impossible for them to be indexed by search engines. So, as a favour to others, I’m mirroring them in an accessible format here on the Stop The Stink in Elmira | Bio-En CLC Documents page.

The CLC Agendas published by Bio-en have the same problem; to make them accessible I mirror them here.

Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the CLC meeting on Tuesday, so if anyone takes notes and wants them published here let me know.

File: Mar4_2014meeting.pdf (14.1 KBytes, PDF file)

Woolwich Bio-en CLC Meeting

When: March 4, 2014

Time: 7:00 to 8:30 pm

Where: Woolwich Memorial Centre
24 Snyder Ave S
Elmira ON N3B 2Z6
Meeting Room 1 (WMC)
Location to be confirmed

Agenda:

  1. January 7th meeting minutes
  2. Woolwich Bio-en construction update
  3. CLC letter of credit
  4. REA amendments
  5. Other Business
  6. Schedule next meeting

Note:
This meeting is open to the public.

CLC Members
Earl Brubacher, Chair
Doug Thomas, V chair
Marg Tassy Kreller
Robert Musselman
Earl Martin
Jerry Heidbuurt
Bob Gray
Micheal Purves Smith
Kevin Martin

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Notes from the CLC meeting on 7 January 2014

Official minutes of the CLC meeting will be posted on the CLC Meeting Minutes at Bioen Elmira page.

A mirror of the minutes is on the Bio-en CLC Meeting Minutes, 7 January 2014 page.

There’s a copy of the CLC Meeting Agenda for Tuesday, 7 January 2014.

I arrived a few minutes late to the Bio-en Community Liaison Meeting meeting on Tuesday night, by which time most of the discussion on the construction update had completed. Earl Brubacher remarked on the large number of standards bodies and regulatory agencies involved in the construction, including the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture (regulating the incoming feedstock), Department of Weights and Measures, and the Department of Labour. Earl mentioned that Woolwich Bio-en is the first biogas plant to require TSSA approval.

The lightning protection on the gas domes has created some controversy. Woolwich Bioen is the first biogas plant to require lightning rods. The controversy is whether the lightning rods will protect the gas domes by conducting lightning away, or whether they will attract the lightning and create a greater hazard than an unprotected dome. Earl said that alternative placement of lightning rods at the edge of the property is recommended by some engineers.

All the operational staff has been hired (two people), and have received training.

A tour of the plant could take place during construction, before the the feedstock has arrived. That would allow people to view the insides of the tanks. During a tour after operation has started visitors can see the process, but not the interior. The tour for Bio-en CLC members only will take place on Saturday, 1 March 2014 at 9:00am, before the tanks are filled. The tour is limited to CLC members because of the proprietary technology on display. Chuck Martin hinted at an Open House with “educational tours” sometime in the future.

There was discussion on Bio-en’s $25,000 letter of credit, which needs to be made out to a legal entity. It was felt that the CLC is not a legal entity, and that the CLC would need to incorporate in order to set up a bank account, or to set up a trust fund. It seems to me that the Community Liaison Committee was established by the arbitration settlement conducted by Province of Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, making it a perfectly legal entity already. Of course, incorporating the CLC might be a prudent move anyway, in order to hold its members harmless from any judgments against it. Robert Musselman reminded us of the Centre Wellington Citizens Coalition (opposing the Elora Racetrack), who were sued by their own Wellington Township Council for $86,000 to recover legal costs after the CWCC lost their appeal.

Bob Gray asked about landscaping of the Bio-en property. The ice storm brought down some trees so that the sight lines from residential properties now have a full view of the biogas buildings. Earl Brubacher said that the damaged trees were on the Elmira Pet Food property, but that there would be some tree planting and berming on Bio-en’s property as well.

It was discussed if the CLC should raise funds for matching the letter of credit. Woolwich Council didn’t refuse the request to provide matching funds, but didn’t contribute either. I suggested that the CLC get the costs for an odour or noise study so that they’d have a precise figure to present to Council if they go back to ask for funding.

Finally, it seems that even people in Elmira don’t know about the biogas plant, although they may have heard about it or read something in the paper. Although I think the CLC believes that to be a bad thing, they haven’t yet established a communications strategy.

The next CLC meeting will be on Tuesday, 4 March 2014.

Alan Marshall of the Elmira Advocate has another writeup of this CLC meeting.

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CLC Meeting Agenda for Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The agenda has been posted on the Bio-en CLC Agendas page for the Community Liaison Committee meeting at 7:00pm on Tuesday, 7 January 2014 in the Woolwich Memorial Arena.

File: Jan7_2014meeting.pdf (14.1 KBytes, PDF file)

Woolwich Bio-en CLC Meeting

When: January 7, 2014

Time: 7:00 to 8:30 pm

Where: Woolwich Memorial Centre
24 Snyder Ave S
Elmira ON N3B 2Z6
Meeting Room 1 (WMC)

Agenda:

  1. November 6th meeting minutes
  2. Woolwich Bio-en construction update
  3. CLC letter of credit
  4. Other Business
  5. Schedule next meeting

Note:
This meeting is open to the public.

CLC Members
Earl Brubacher, Chair
Doug Thomas, V chair
Marg Tassy Kreller
Robert Musselman
Earl Martin
Jerry Heidbuurt
Bob Gray
Micheal Purves Smith
Kevin Martin

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Woolwich Council Rejects CLC Funding

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.

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New Look for Events Calendar

Hi everyone: The Events Calendar on Stop The Stink in Elmira has a new look, courtesy of Timely All-In-One Website Calendar.

The new calendar has categories for different types of events, which currently are BFCC meetings (there probably won’t be many of those any more), the Bio-en CLC meetings, CPAC meetings, and Council meetings.

The feed URL for the calendar has changed. To add this calendar to Microsft Outlook, Apple iCal or another calendar program you should use this URL:

http://sobac.com/~stopthestink/?plugin=all-in-one-event-calendar&controller=ai1ec_exporter_controller&action=export_events

At the moment the feed lists only future events; let me know if that’s a problem.

If you want to contribute to the calendar you can register and log in and add your own events about environmental concerns in Elmira.

If anyone would like to contribute to purchase the “Pro Calendar” edition then donations are gratefully accepted.

–Bob.

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