Town calls on Premier to halt further development of proposed Oakville power plant

Thu, 02 Sep 2010

Resolution passed by Council calls on province to take action to address health risks from harmful emissions in the Oakville-Clarkson airshed

Oakville Town Council has responded to recommendations in the report from the Air Quality Task Force, Dr. David Balsillie, by calling on the Premier and Province of Ontario to impose a moratorium on further development of the proposed Oakville Generating Station until action is taken to address the risks to the health of residents living in the overtaxed Oakville-Clarkson airshed from PM2.5 and other emissions. Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed Dr. Balsillie to head the Task Force in response to concerns over the Ontario Power Authority’s decision to award TransCanada Corporation a contract to build a 900 megawatt power generating station on Royal Windsor Drive despite the government’s own reports that the Oakville-Clarkson airshed was overtaxed.

“The province appointed Dr. Balsillie to identify solutions to the problems posed by poor air quality in the Oakville-Clarkson airshed,” Mayor Burton said. “Dr. Balsillie’s report has confirmed that the Oakville-Clarkson airshed is compromised and incapable of accepting additional pollutants. Dr. Balsillie calls for an overall reduction in emissions, not an increase. We are simply asking that the Premier take the appropriate action to implement Dr. Balsillie’s recommendations before more potential harm comes to the residents of Oakville.”

Mayor Burton pointed out that one particular recommendation of interest to the town is Dr. Balsillie’s call for a provincial standard to regulate the harmful effects of PM2.5.

“Oakville Council passed an innovative health protection air quality by-law earlier this year that recognized the harmful effects of PM2.5 so we fully support Dr. Balsillie’s call for a provincial standard to regulate the emission of this harmful substance.”

The town’s Environmental Policy Director, Cindy Toth, also highlighted Dr. Balsillie’s fourth recommendation that states:

All applications for Certificates of Approval for new or modified industrial activities, which will increase emissions within the airshed, must be considered in light of the current capacity of the airshed. This recommendation would also apply to the issuance of a Certificate of Approval for the power plant.

Toth noted that this was a critical difference from the province’s existing approach. “We cannot afford to ignore cumulative impacts of air emissions if we are to achieve meaningful improvements in air quality.”

Dr. Balsillie’s report was released on June 24, 2010. For a copy of the report, visit the Ministry of Environment website. For more information on the by-law, visit the town’s health protection air quality by-law web page.

-30-

For more information

Cindy Toth      
Director, Environmental Policy     
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3299    

Jane Courtemanche
Director, Strategy, Policy and Communications
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3038