Officials from Durham and York Region, Ontario have endorsed a site for a potential waste-to-energy plant in Clarington close to the nuclear power plant.
The vote from the Joint Waste Management Group (made up of councilors from both regions) was unanimous. It came after a heated debate in Newmarket led by representatives of opposing views: Durham Chair Roger Anderson argued in favor of incineration against Paul Connett, a retired chemistry professor from New York state who is a well-known anti-incineration activist.
Connett — who is known for his “over the top” presentations — was brought to the meeting by local opponents. He referred to pro-thermal treatment consultants and municipal staff as “suckling pigs” and told the committee the proposed $150 million energy-from-waste incinerator (which would process about 200,000 tonnes of waste annually) an “economic and health disaster for both regions.”
An Ipsos-Reid poll of 400 residents in the two regions, conducted in December and released yesterday, 74 per cent said they agree or somewhat agree with the idea of using thermal technology, including incineration and gasification, to deal with the regions’ waste in the face of the upcoming closure of Michigan landfill sites to Ontario’s garbage.
The 12-hectare site is located near the Darlington nuclear plant, between Courtice and Osbourne Rds. south of Highway 401. Four of the five proposed sites were in Clarington, the fifth in East Gwillimbury.
Five companies, including some from Germany, Japan and the U.S., are on the short list to build a plant.
The last incinerator built in the Greater Toronto Area was built in 1992 in Brampton. Halton Region, Niagara Region and Hamilton are also considering waste-to-energy plants.