Sunday, June 16, 2024

Save Georgian Bay Persists With IESO Engagement on the TCE Pump Storage Proposal

Editor,

Save Georgian Bay leaders successfully handed over 3000+ petition signatures to a representative at the Toronto office of Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) last Friday, January 27, mere days before IESO’s Gate 2 report was due.

These petitions are signed by community members who oppose the TCE proposal for a pumped storage project at the 4th Canadian Division Training Centre on Department of National Defence (DND) lands in Meaford and request that this proposed project does not go forward through Gate 2 of IESO’s process. The IESO chapter of this fight is about to end. That chapter includes SGB’s continued study of this process, delivery of the petition and residents sending hundreds of letters challenging the proposal. The leaders at IESO declined SGB’s request to meet. If IESO does pass the project through Gate 2, it will show a betrayal of their stated values of community engagement and protecting Ontario ratepayer value.

Save Georgian Bay representatives had asked for a time to meet with IESO leadership during January. IESO’s response was we will receive the petitions but “no meeting”. When arriving at the IESO offices in Toronto, at a scheduled time, the representatives were told that “you need an appointment” and were making it difficult to deliver the petition. The five Meaford leaders who delivered the petition are the best demonstration of our values and efforts: Freda Muscovitch, Louise Buccella, Eric Ennis, Susan James, and Joseph Leung.

Standing in the IESO reception area, former Meaford city council candidate Eric Ennis patiently stayed on the phone with a remote receptionist requesting a meeting, while Freda Ariella Muscovitch appealed to other staff present in the office to receive the petitions and hear the presentation to explain the key concerns. Meanwhile Tom Buck, out of town, emailed one IESO Stakeholder engagement manager: “Where is your community engagement value if you don’t engage.” One might conclude that residents of Meaford and Save Georgian Bay supporters advocating to protect Georgian Bay are not among the stakeholders that IESO engages. Thankfully, this three-pronged approach was successful in bringing one IESO staff member to receive the petitions and to listen to Mr. Ennis’s presentation. The staff member would not allow photos of the actual handover of petitions, but agreed to receive them on behalf of IESO.

Eric Ennis shared our message, “On behalf of the residents of Meaford and the larger community of Southern Georgian Bay we hereby present Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator with a petition containing the signatures of over 3,000 members of the community. These signatures represent an overwhelming objection to the Pump Storage Plant proposed by TCE. The community has great concerns about the environmental impact of the proposed project; the construction and operating cost of the project with much lower ratepayer value than on-the-grid contemporary technologies; and the impact on the health and well-being of the people of Southern Georgian Bay. Thank you for your consideration and acceptance of this representation of the voices of the people of Meaford and Southern Georgian Bay.”

Delivery of the petition package was the culmination of a communication program focused on confirming to the IESO leadership that the people of Meaford and Southern Georgian Bay have studied the proposal and oppose it due to its poor ratepayer value for Ontario utility customers, its significant adverse impact on the environment and the risks the project would bring to the residents of Southern Georgian Bay.

For more information go to SaveGeorgianBay.ca.

Questions to Tom Buck, tbuck@savegeorgianbay.ca

Tom Buck, Save Georgian Bay

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