Oshawa Council requests Ethics Commissioner to investigate ethanol refinery decision
OSHAWA, ON, Aug. 28, 2012 /CNW/ – On August 9, the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA) announced that it had given approval for FarmTech Energy Corporation (FarmTech) to build and operate an ethanol refinery at the Oshawa Harbour. Construction of the ethanol refinery (to be located on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, adjacent to the Second Marsh, a provincially significant 123-hectare coastal wetland) is expected to get underway this summer, with completion by 2014.
In response to the OPA announcement, Oshawa City Council held a Special Council Meeting on August 23 and passed a motion to contact the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner of Canada to request an investigation regarding the appointments of the OPA Board in relationship to The Honourable Jim Flaherty, PC MP Whitby-Oshawa, Minister of Finance & Minister Responsible for the GTA, and to FarmTech.
City Council also passed a motion to urge the OPA to hold a public meeting to: transparently explain its decision to grant a lease for the construction of the refinery; provide an overview of its development plan for the Oshawa Harbour; address City and community concerns; and to answer resident questions regarding the refinery.
“Given the unavailability of information and the community’s deep concern and objection to the OPA’s decision in approving the development of an ethanol refinery at the Oshawa Harbour, Oshawa Council is pushing the OPA to halt construction and to listen and respond to resident concerns during a transparent and open public meeting,” said Oshawa Mayor Henry.
Further, Council has requested that the OPA provide all public motions, ratifications or other information associated with its approval of the land lease together with a copy of the lease and evidence that it represents fair market value as required under the Canada Marine Act.
“We encourage residents to contact the OPA and their Board Members, FarmTech, The Honourable Jim Flaherty, PC MP, Dr. Colin Carrie, MP and The Honourable Denis Lebel, PC MP, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and press them to halt construction of the ethanol refinery and all development of those lands and to hold an open public meeting and provide the information repeatedly requested by Council,” added Mayor Henry.
The OPA and their Board Members, FarmTech, local MPs, and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities can be contacted directly:
- Donna Taylor, CEO and Port Manager, Oshawa Port Authority
- Gary Valcour, OPA Board Chair
- Chris Kluczewski, OPA Board Member
- Joe Allison, OPA Board Member
- Norman Mackie, OPA Board Member
- Bruce McArthur, OPA Board Member
- Peter Singh, OPA Board Member
- Dan O’Connor, President, FarmTech Energy Corporation
- The Honourable Jim Flaherty, PC MP Whitby-Oshawa, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the GTA
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; 905-665-8182; 613-992-6344
- Dr. Colin Carrie, MP Oshawa
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; 905-440-4868; 613-996-4756
- The Honourable Denis Lebel, PC MP Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities firstname.lastname@example.org; 418-275-2768; 613-996-6236
FarmTech Energy Corporation’s ethanol refinery would be the only ethanol plant located along the Canadian shoreline of Lake Ontario. Further, the refinery would be adjacent to the Waterfront Trail, the Second Marsh (a Provincially Significant Wetland) and to the picturesque Lakeview Park (a 46-acre community hotspot with a sandy beach, boardwalk, playgrounds, picnic areas, sports fields and scenic trails).
The ethanol refinery would include four grain silos, each standing 125 feet high (equivalent to four 12-storey buildings). In addition, the shipment of raw materials and end product into and out of the ethanol refinery would generate hundreds of daily truck trips near the harbour. Also, the refinery would be capable of producing 210 million litres of ethanol annually, which would require processing 525,000,000 kilograms of corn each year (approximately 10 per cent of Ontario’s annual corn crop) and would result in approximately 168,000,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) emitted annually as a byproduct of the fermentation process.
In response to being notified that an Environmental Assessment was underway for the FarmTech ethanol refinery, both the Council of the Region of Durham and Oshawa City Council adopted resolutions opposing the development of an ethanol refinery at the Oshawa Harbour. Further, the City hand-delivered a 300-page comment submission to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada opposing the construction and operation of an ethanol refinery at the Oshawa Harbour.
Accompanying the submission were approximately 3,300 resident letters in opposition, as well as influential letters from the David Suzuki Foundation, Council of Canadians and Margaret Atwood. To read the comment submission and letters, visit http://www.oshawa.ca/cit_hall/harbour-background.asp.
In addition, the rural Brock Township Council has publicly stated that they are a willing host.