…..Additionally, “Brian Brasier, executive director of the Second Marsh, called the evening an ‘exquisite farce’… In their presentation, Oshawa Port Authority chair Gary Valcour and FarmTech president Dan O’Connor pointed to existing environmental studies, reviewed by a third-party company, to show environmental concerns were addressed. Some of the documents have yet to be released by the federal government and Mr. Valcour said he expected them to be released in October or November. Mr. Brasier said the speakers left the impression that the plant had received environmental approvals, when that was not the case, outside of the port authority. ‘I would not consider the port authority a qualified entity to decide environmental impacts.’”
The controversial $200 million, 12-storey ethanol refinery is to be constructed in Oshawa on the Lake Ontario waterfront next to a ‘provincially significant’ 123-hectare coastal wetland. The refinery is opposed by Oshawa City Council, but has been approved by the Oshawa Port Authority. Five of the seven members of the Port Authority were appointed by the Harper government, including Valcour, the former president of the Conservative riding association in federal finance minister Jim Flaherty’s riding of Oshawa-Whitby. Flaherty’s riding association also includes Tim O’Connor – a director of FarmTech Energy Corporation and the brother of the company’s president Dan O’Connor.
Last summer, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote, “Several aspects of the proposed ethanol plant contradict the notion of the Great Lakes Commons including the importance of public participation and a program for wetlands protection. …I urge the Federal Government to withdraw any consent and withhold any further consideration to establish an ethanol plant on Crown land at the Oshawa Harbour until the concerns of the community are adequately considered.”
The Friends of Oshawa’s Waterfront website is http://oshawawaterfrontfriends.com.