Friday, June 14, 2024

Don’t Let NIMBYism Stymie Much Needed Development

Dear Editor,

In reference to the proposed pumped energy storage facility, I was heartened to see letters in the October 17 edition of The Meaford Independent from people whose interest extends beyond the narrow focus of the ‘Save Georgian Bay’ group (SGB).

I am a resident of Meaford and have been part of the community for many years. The environment has always been important to me so I’ve started to do my research as I do wish to be informed about this project. I’m including some of my thoughts here and I will also be sharing them with the DND and TC Energy.

I need to ask where SGB got their information. Is it fact provided to them privately by TC Energy or is it conjecture? The information provided to the public by TC Energy is vague and does not talk about the technology. How does SGB know that the TC Energy design is based on the Ludington MI facility which was originally designed in the 1960’s? Has technology not changed since then? There are pumped storage facilities all over the world. There is even one at Niagara Falls that has been in operation since being commissioned in 1961. Do all of these facilities ‘eat fish’ or is there something else that SGB has left out as it doesn’t support their argument? Where is the discussion of best-practice?

It is an excellent choice to compare the size of the underwater structures to the size of the Collingwood elevators – something that is familiar to everyone in the area. However, the proposed, new structures will be underwater, not nearly as visible or intrusive as implanted by the image of the elevators. I can’t see the Collingwood breakwater from Meaford. Can anyone?

The environment is very important and a huge loss of fish could be devastating. We need to do everything possible to help all species remain self-sustaining. A large number of people come to Meaford to fish. What can be done to enhance their experience? The breakwater design could enhance the environment for fish. A community partnership could be established to either create a new hatchery or support the existing Sydenham Sportsmen hatchery or the Shawanaga First Nation Fish Hatchery.

The breakwater location seems to be in an area that is already restricted to boaters.

There needs to be a large lake created to store the water. Perhaps working with a group like Ducks Unlimited could result in the concurrent creation of wet lands to support more wildlife.

All construction scars landscape but there should be a requirement of the company to restore the shoreline, hill and entire construction site by appropriate grading and the establishment of plantings that allow nature to quickly reclaim the land. If vast swaths of the formerly barren landscape of the Sudbury area can be beautifully restored, surely there is a way to manage a construction strip up the escarpment at the Meaford Base.

Eight hundred construction jobs – WOW – in Meaford! How can we ensure the town benefits from that level of employment? What do new and existing businesses need to do to step up for this opportunity?

It’s already difficult to hire heavy-equipment operators without a lengthy wait. Is TC Energy perhaps willing to develop a facility to train workers in Meaford to fulfill their needs and leave a lasting legacy for the community’s continued growth? Fifteen long-term jobs are not to be sneered at either, as I suspect the pay will be higher than the minimum wage which too commonly represents wages in the area. These jobs have the potential to keep people in our community, paying taxes, using local businesses and contributing to the sustainability of the area.

Dialogue requires input from all sides. Using only information from a single-interest group is not the way to become properly informed about any topic. I hope TC Energy steps up soon to provide more information and engage the entire community.

Don’t let NIMBYism stymie much needed development in Meaford. How can we make this a win win for the area and the energy supply of the province?

Steve Smith, Meaford

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