Sunday, April 21, 2024

Councillor Eager For Release Of Municipal Report on Proposed Pumped Storage Facility

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

At April 20th’s on-line council meeting I asked when council is going to receive CAO Rob Armstrong’s report on Trans Canada Energy’s proposed Pumped Storage Facility.

The Department of National Defence has to make a decision on whether it will host the $3.3B development. DND postponed that decision to July 31, less than 90 days away. Suppose, for sake of argument, our council decided to oppose the project. That’s not a lot of time to get ready considering that TCE has been preparing their case in favour for the last two to three years.

The answer I got was that councillors cannot hear the CAO’s analysis of pros and cons because the public (and specifically, the well-organized opponents of the project) cannot be present in the flesh to hear it. Well, we won’t be there in the flesh either! We’re in a pandemic lockdown, meeting virtually. But, the public can witness our virtual meetings in real time. They can also review the meetings on-line at will. So, given the unprecedented circumstances, I really don’t see the problem. Beyond that, I’m certain that Save Georgian Bay is more interested in Council’s thoughts on the project than an in-person display of opposition.

Even though the Municipality of Meaford will be mightily impacted if this project proceeds, it has virtually no standing to approve or deny. Of course, we can represent ourselves at various stages of the regulatory process, but we need to start our homework.

However, we could also decide that this project is simply out of all proportion to the capacity of the local environment to sustain it and we are going to oppose it. But for that, we are running out of time. It stands to reason that if the COVID-19 crisis continues much longer DND will once again postpone the deadline for input to its decision. But if not, by denying that council has a right to hear our CAO’s report without a public gallery we are seriously compromising the municipality’s ability to successfully oppose the project if we so choose.

Councillor Ross Kentner

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