Presentation to Council on Bio-En Appeal

This presentation was made to Woolwich Township Council on Monday, 16 April 2012

Presenters: Vivienne Delaney and Michael Purves-Smith

We represent the official appeal submitted by six local Elmira citizens to the Environmental Review Tribunal. We are here to preserve and improve the quality of life in Elmira. [to Council:] This is your job as well. We are not here to stop Mr. Martin’s Bio-Energy project; we are here to stop it in Elmira. We want it to be relocated appropriately:

  1. Far from a residential or commercial area. Ontario is a vast space (unlike crowded Austria).
  2. Adjacent or close to feeder stock
  3. Avoiding unnecessary haulage.
    • We don’t want 100,000 tonnes of someone else’s garbage, maybe even from adjacent northern U.S. states, trucked through Elmira at taxpayers’ expense. And we don’t want it to be trucked farther than necessary. The Township [thank you] has found an alternative location has been identified in Woolwich. We understand that it is more than twenty kilometres closer to the 401. That matters.
    • Unfortunately, the provincial government has not done its homework and has chosen to ignore our input. It clearly does not care where bio-energy plants are located, so long as they are built. It has made it clear that the choice is entirely up to the proponent and has taken steps, as we now know to our cost, to ensure that nothing will stand in the way of the proponent’s choice.
    • We understand that trucking is an unavoidable part of our life. In fact, trucking has increased in Ontario by 43% since 1990.
    • Planning in our region has always tried to ensure that heavy truck traffic is routed away from commercial and residential areas. We can show that this is not the case in Elmira.

We appreciate the support of the Woolwich Council. We support alternative energy, including bio-energy.

What about the quality of life? This includes the safety and health of our children as they go to and from school, and of all of us as we all play in our parks and use our trails. It includes reasonable tranquility in our living space.

Noise, odour, vibrations, congestion, and ugliness: Who will want to live, visit, or shop in Elmira if this is gets worse?

We need an outstanding downtown area. Who will invest in downtown Elmira as long as it trapped by unpleasant congestion? Idling trucks, — yuk!

The quality of life includes the health, safety, and reputation of the town.

Diesel fumes and soot are one of the most widespread and dangerous forms of air pollution.

I [Vivienne] have worked as a nurse in a supervisory capacity all over the world. I presently work in one the top Intensive Care Transplant units in Canada.

Research has shown that for anyone who has predisposing diseases of the immune, cardio-vascular, and respiratory systems, and other similar conditions, diesel fumes are often a major contributing factor. Just a few signs to watch for: coughing, shortness of breath, headache. Cigarette smoking is voluntary, but the health risk from absorbing diesel fumes and soot is imposed by others.

Increased traffic diminishes the quality of life. The horse and buggy traffic that is unique to this corridor has the same rights to safety as the garbage trucks that will service Woolwich Bio-en.

The Ministry of the Environment once again has let Elmira down. We are asking the Woolwich Council to stand up for us. [to Council] Where are you on this issue? Are you on board?

As Mr Martin states, traffic is an issue in Elmira.

You were not willing to spend $30,000 on the appeal. How much will we as tax payers need to pay to repair the present unsightly road damage in downtown Elmira and bring it to the standard required for the intense truck and vehicular traffic on the corridor? In that case, what is the benefit to Elmira of increased truck traffic from new industry in the north of town? Where else has a significant extension of an industrial park been approved when there is no truck access, except through down town?

What exactly is the benefit of the plant to the people of Elmira?

  • Health? No
  • Tranquility? No
  • Clean air? No
  • Green environment? No
  • Jobs? No.

You have stated that you were extremely disappointed by the granting of the REA. You are still, we hope, actively engaged in furthering the relocation project. You publicly announced that you were considering an appeal. You voted on it past the deadline for making such an appeal. At considerable personal risk, we mounted an appeal, and got there on time. It has been accepted. If you are serious about meeting your responsibilities to the people of Elmira, we expect that you will want to support us in every possible way.

Therefore, we are here to ask for

  • Administrative support
  • Expert witness where it is appropriate, especially with regard to land use planning
  • Aggressive resistance to rezoning
  • Research support
  • Facilitation of our contacts when we need help from the Region

It would be nice if you could allocate some funds because we are still looking for a lawyer to represent us.

We are enraged by the irresponsibility of the provincial government on this matter.

We look to you for action.