Meaford's council was once again grappling with the proposed pumped storage facility at Meaford's military base. Like many residents, members of council are also concerned about the proposal and they want to learn more about it in spite of constant accusations from some in the community that council hid the proposal from the public.
Some in the community have been pointing a finger at the municipality on this issue, and I must admit I find the whole notion baffling.
The accusation (as best as I can understand it) is that council learned about the TC Energy proposal in June and then for some reason hid the information from the public causing a loss of valuable time given that the general public only learned of the proposal two months later in August.
My first question to those who continue to toss out this accusation is – to what end? What could possibly motivate a small-town council to keep hidden a proposal that has nothing to do with them (at this stage)? What would the intention be? Someone please explain this crazy logic to me.
Those most angered by the timing of when they learned of the proposal suggest that they have lost valuable time given that the commenting period for this feasibility study comes to an end in March of next year.
To those who feel it important, I ask this: what would you have done with the extra two month's notice that you haven't already done with nearly five months remaining in the commenting period? Perhaps a better question might be, what have you done since you found out? For many the answer would be nothing but complain, and to the wrong folks at that.
We must also keep in mind that we are at a stage of infancy when it comes to this proposal. What is taking place now is a feasibility study, that among other things will determine if the project is even possible or practical. Should the proposal move beyond the feasibility stage, there are multiple layers of approval to come, including environmental impact studies that are expected to take at least three years and will provide a wealth of opportunities for public input. So what the heck has been lost by finding out about the proposal in August as opposed to June? Nothing, absolutely nothing, so let's end this silliness now.
There is much to be concerned with regarding this proposal. There are environmental issues to consider, economic issues, community issues. The magnitude of this proposal, if it were to ever move forward, could have a lasting and possibly negative impact on this community for years to come. So there are real issues to consider, which makes it even more baffling to me that at every council meeting, and with many people I meet on the street, people are asking councillors when they knew.
I think we would all be wise to focus our energies on real questions that matter as opposed to falling for red herrings and conspiracy theories.
Myself, as I have continued to look into this proposal, have found that my list of questions and concerns continues to grow, and I am very much looking forward to TC Energy's public meeting that will be held at the Meaford & St. Vincent Community Centre on Wednesday, December 11. We don't yet know what time the meeting will be held, because TC Energy claims to not yet know, but as soon as they announce a time, we will let our readers know. When that meeting comes I am hoping that many of my own questions will be answered, though I suspect I will leave that meeting with many concerns still to mull.
Another question that has been asked of council (and myself) a number of times is, 'why haven't you come out against this proposal?' or 'will you join us in opposing this proposal?' For myself the answer to those questions at this point has to be a hard 'no', because I don't yet know enough about what is being proposed to have any comfort in any position (though my early sense isn't very favourable toward this proposal), but in time, and with enough information, I will certainly determine my position at some point.
One comment that I keep hearing that I would like to address is this: 'It is an old technology'. Many people have said this to me, and we've heard it once or twice with people addressing council, and we heard it at the meeting held by local activist group Save Georgian Bay. To that assertion I simply shrug my shoulders and respond – so is the wheel, what's your point? Just because a technology is old doesn't mean it has no value, so we can't dismiss a proposal like this simply because it uses old technology.
Again, we all have many unanswered questions, and we all want answers, but let's make sure that our questions matter and that we aren't sidetracking ourselves with silly and irrelevant conspiracies.
TC Energy has announced the time for their Wednesday December 11, public meeting at the Meaford & St. Vincent Community Centre - doors will open at 5:30 pm.