Tuesday, April 23, 2024

More Thoughts on Pumped Storage Proposal

Dear Editor,

I take issue with the basic premise of the Independent’s Nov. 2 editorial about TC Energy’s pumped storage project.

The Editorial asserts that Meaford council had “the least say in the matter (virtually none).”

In fact, council had vital decision-making power.

Energy Minister Todd Smith, who seems to be hellbent on pushing ahead this project despite the clear reservations of the Independent Electricity System Operator, required council to declare Meaford as a “willing host” or the project would be a non-starter.

On Feb. 27, Mayor Ross Kentner, who had been voted into power because he opposed the project, led his council to declare the town exactly that —a “willing host”—despite more than a dozen deputations opposing it, thus giving Todd Smith and TC Energy exactly what they wanted.

One reason that Todd Smith and TC Energy may have insisted on such an official declaration is that both were involved in a previous debacle in 2010 when the Ontario government of the day felt obliged to cancel a TransCanada Energy (as it was then known) gas plant in Oakville because of local opposition—a flip flop that ended up costing provincial taxpayers millions.

In fact, as is well known, substantial numbers in Meaford are anything but willing to see their town and surrounding environment devastated by this outdated and unnecessarily invasive technology. More than 3,300 have written their names on a petition presented to Parliament and more than 40,000 have filled out an online petition.

Council had the power to represent the citizens and halt this project that even the province’s own energy regulator said was a bad deal. Instead, council ignored the expressed will of thousands and gave the project a green light.

What will be the cost this time around?

Clair Balfour, Meaford

Editor’s Note: For clarification, no matter how many times people make the claim, Meaford’s council has not voted in favour of Meaford being a ‘willing host’.

What Meaford council did approve in a 5-2 vote in February of this year, was conditional support for the project subject to the following conditions:

  1. Written confirmation from TC Energy of complete cost recovery for all costs reasonably incurred by the Municipality in relation to the proposed facility and that the aforementioned costs will be expeditiously reimbursed by TC Energy;
  2. Development of a regulatory plan and related information gathering and disclosure requirements to address the central role and future actions of the Municipality regarding the Proposed facility over its life-cycle from planning to decommissioning;
  3. Formal agreement between the Municipality and TC Energy on Community Benefits covering short-, medium- and long-term benefits, including ultimate ratification of the agreement by Council;
  4. Approval of the proposed facility by all relevant jurisdictions under all applicable environmental energy, and land use processes, including any applicable environmental and/or impact assessments, and all applicable regulatory approvals, authorizations, licenses, and permits.

That the Community Benefits Agreement shall include both community benefits and mitigation for project related community impacts.

 

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