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. (more…)

Does Ontario really need that generator?

The prospect of a gas fired generator in the Holland Marsh continues to really bother me.  My anger about the “faulty process” was re-ignited recently when I read the John Spears’ article. (Toronto Star Business Reporter).  You can read the whole article here.

To give you a sense of why I got fired up here are a few quotes:

“Since Ontario’s electricity market opened in 2002, electricity generators have been paid millions for not producing power.”

“…one unnamed generator has discovered a loophole allowing it to wring nearly $19 million in extra payments out of the system by unnecessarily switching on and off during the day — the equivalent of a working stiff earning a bonus every time he makes a coffee run to Timmy’s.

The Independent Electricity System Operator says that it has been working to curb the expensive practices. And the Ontario Energy Board has asked for a report next months (sic) on what steps are being taken.”

“Money for the extra payments is built into the price paid by every electricity user in the province.” (more…)

Heritage in trees and buildings

Thanks  to two excellent presentations during the past two weeks I have had my eyes & ears opened to some new concepts & issues about heritage—the valuing of it, the respecting of it, the learning from it.

On 3/20 the Historical Society hosted a presentation about Heritage Trees.  Yes trees.

What is a heritage tree?  Factors are numerous including its physical characteristics:  age, health, type/specimen; and its role in the cultural story of its location, its history.  Imagine a tree that is not only on the Carrying Place Trail but was a marker for the traders and missionaries and others using the trail!

At our recent 3/21 Council meeting there was an excellent informative presentation by the Heritage Committee.  A couple insights. (more…)

No Change to Gas Pipeline Route

March 21 Ontario Energy Board rendered its decision to not re-open a review of the gas pipeline to supply the York Energy Centre.  From my reading of their decision their critical decision factor is that King Township had not registered as an intervener in the original proceedings; and then waited nearly 8 months after the decision in April 2010 to ask for a review.  (Recall:  I tabled the motion December 20, 2011 to ask for this review.)

You can read the OEB decision here. Legal Counsel for the current Council made a good effort to explain why the Township had acted or not acted as it did; but, the OEB did not buy it.

Enbridge previously indicated willingness to meet with public to review the project once OEB decision rendered; I anticipate that a meeting will be announced soon and will keep you posted.

Sustainability

Sustainability…….  Everyone is doing it.  Today in my “traditional” mailbox (i.e. the one covered in wet snow) I received a mailing from a well known global consumer products company with an update on their sustainability plan.  And sure, as happens, once everyone is doing it, it is easy to pick out those who haven’t done a good job; and those who are merely putting on a good show of doing it.  That doesn’t mean the concept lacks value.  I would suggest that it simply illustrates that as with everything there are good executions and bad ones.

In case you are wondering what I am talking about:  sustainability is about survival, it is about meeting our needs today BUT without harming the ability of future generations to survive, to meet their needs.

I am going to be writing about sustainability on a regular basis.

Here is the first thing I said about this topic earlier. King Township has decided to develop and execute an integrated sustainability plan.  It is the way we will evolve.

Given our very weak financial position it is quite clear that we need to start running this place differently!  And for sure, my value system is such that I do not want to harm the ability of future generations to meet their needs by doing what is easiest and most comfortable for me.

Over time there will be numerous opportunities for citizen participation in developing our integrated sustainability plan and then living & executing it.  Right now we need Ambassadors and people to join working groups.  If you haven’t seen the advertisement in the local papers or to get more information visit the Township’s website.

I am optimistic about King’s ability to embrace sustainability.  There are many independent sustainability successes to brag about already; what we need to do is get everyone onto to the same page and to streamline the effort.  Council’s deferral on nominating members to the Township traditional committees is in recognition of the need to streamline.