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Comments from Mike Schreiner on the Gas Plant Proposed for King Township

A week ago, the Minister of Energy Brad Duguid announced that the McGuinty government was going to pull the plug on the gas plant proposed for Oakville. The Minister clearly stated that the government had inaccurately projected electricity demand and the plant was no longer needed.

Both the Minister and the Premier have since stated that the same logic does not apply to the gas plant proposed for King Township, which is less than half the size of the Oakville plant. They say that projected growth in North York region requires a different approach.

This rationale might stand if the York Peaker Plant could island. But it can’t. This simply means that the gas generator does not meet York Region’s local power needs for system reliability and redundancy and will not provide local back up capabilities in emergencies. Power will feed directly into the grid, not York Region specifically.

This was originally a mandatory requirement for the York Peaker Plant. The inability to island completely undermines the main rationale for this plant in the first place and the government’s reasoning that the situation in York is different than in Oakville.

The Minister also continually says that the York Peaker Plant has fulfilled all environmental and planning requirements. This may technically be true, but only because the Liberal’s have misused and abused their power to do an end run around important planning and environmental legislation.

The government’s unprecedented action to exempt this gas plant from the Planning Act threatens its own Greenbelt legislation and the integrity of the Planning Act itself.

In an absurd logical twist the government gave the gas plant a conditional Environmental Assessment provided it complied with all local planning requirements. The government then exempted the plant from the very same local planning laws. And I will remind you that this is the very same EA process that the Environmental Commissioner declared to be inadequate in his report last month.

Only a government that is out of touch and being advised by a bunch of board room bureaucrats would think that building a gas plant near a school, church and homes located in legislatively protected countryside adjacent to some of the most productive farmland in North America makes sense. I suggest they get out of Toronto and engage community leaders like those with me yesterday to find a sensible solution to York Region’s energy needs. It’s not too late to stop this ill-conceived gas plant.

Yesterday I attended the “Our Water, Our Lives Rally” at Queen’s Park where I was joined by a number of citizens speaking out for a sensible solution to the proposed gas plant in King Township. Joining us to speak to the media were Margaret Black, Mayor of King Township; Debbie Schaefer, Board Member of Concerned Citizens of King Township whose organization is a plaintiff in legal action calling for a Judicial Review of this case; and Avia Eek, whose family farms in the Holland Marsh is also a plaintiff and is known as the twittering farmer.