Safety Buffers For Gas-fired Generators!

A letter  initiated by Oakville citizens and signed by residents from several other municipalities, including me, has been sent to the leadership of all the provincial parties, asking for appropriate and reasonable buffer zones between generators and residences and institutions such as schools and health care facilities.

The concept of establishing “safe” buffer zones was first proposed by Liberal MPP Kevin Flynn in a Private Member’s Bill early in 2010.  He initiated it as part of his effort to stop the Transcanada generator being proposed in Oakville.  As we all know the latter was cancelled in October 2010.  At that point Bill 8 had passed second reading.  Even though their immediate threat has been defeated, the Oakville citizens are continuing their effort to improve the decision process for locating gas-fired generators.

You can read the letter addressed to Premier McGuinty here. Comparable letters were sent to the 3 other leaders and to the Minister of Energy and the opposition Energy critics.

The siting of gas fired generators is a good election issue.  Ontario’s electricity grid is changing.  Attention is being paid to safe siting of wind turbines.  Why shouldn’t there be concern about gas-fired generators?  The York Energy Centre is clear proof that the current regulations are inadequate.  (We had many valid reasons to support our opposition to the latter; but, we had no regulation to support our claims that it was too close to residents and a school.)   Furthermore, given the recent nuclear crisis in Japan there is risk that interest in gas generators may increase.

Bill 8 has passed two readings but since April 22, 2010 it has been idling in the Standing Committee of General Government.   In the fall I spoke to MPP Dr. Helena Jaczek who was then Vice-Chair of the Committee to understand the process for moving through Committee.  It is evident that without public pressure (such as an election campaign) this important issue is not going to be addressed.

One Response to “ “Safety Buffers For Gas-fired Generators!”

  1. Bruce Craig says:

    An excellent point is made that there is lots of attention given to the safe siting of wind turbines, however, an equal concern about the siting of gas-fired generators is not evident.

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