QUEEN'S PARK, ON, March 2 /CNW/ - Two Members of Provincial Parliament, the Member of Parliament for Oakville and the Mayors from three Ontario communities joined hundreds of residents today at Queen's Park to send a message to Premier Dalton McGuinty: Gas-fired power plants need to be a safe distance from homes and schools and the Ontario Power Authority should work with local governments to ensure the health and safety of the people they serve.
The rally was organized by Citizens for Clean Air (C4CA), a citizens' coalition calling for immediate reconsideration of the 975 megawatt gas plant in an already over-polluted air shed, because of safety, health and environment risks.
Members of Provincial Parliament Kevin Flynn (Oakville) and Charles Sousa (Mississauga South) joined Mayors Hazel McCallion (Mississauga), Rob Burton (Oakville) and Margaret Black (King Township) to express their concerns. Kevin Flynn, the Liberal Member for Oakville, announced plans to introduce a Private Member's Bill in the Ontario Legislature requiring a buffer zone and consideration of local impact before a site for any gas power plant in Ontario can be chosen.
"There appears to be a serious lack of regulations concerning separation distances between power plants and communities in North America," said Flynn. "The recent tragedy at a natural gas power plant in Connecticut makes it evident that Ontario needs to establish a minimum separation distance to ensure that the proposed power plant in Oakville is stopped and the government becomes a leader in ensuring the health and safety of our citizens."
Terence Young, Member of Parliament for Oakville, joined the rally at Queen's Park stressing that the Clarkson Air Shed, in which the plant would be situated, has already been declared overly-polluted by federal and provincial government studies.
"'Overtaxed airshed' is a euphemism for the toxic air in Oakville. Respiratory conditions are already the number one reason children are admitted to hospitals in Halton. This plant would increase hospitalizations, and deaths from stroke and heart attack. Gas fired plants should be nowhere near homes and schools," said Young.
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said, "Locating the largest gas-fired power plant in Ontario right next to homes and schools defies common sense. I was shocked to learn that there is currently no law to prevent this. Clearly, we need one."
The Province has awarded TransCanada a contract to build and operate a 975 megawatt gas-fired power plant in Oakville subject to obtaining all municipal, provincial and federal approvals. On February 7 in Middletown, CT a massive explosion at a 620 megawatt gas plant killed six people and injured 26 more. Homes were damaged more than 1.6 kilometres away and the blast was felt up to 50 kilometres away. The Oakville plant would be situated on a small parcel of land (13.5 acres) on Royal Windsor Drive wedged between the heavily trafficked CN and GO Transit rail lines to the south and the 403/QEW highways to the north.
Mayor Black of King Township attended the rally adding, "King Township is not willing to host a 393 megawatt gas-fired generator within 500 meters of homes, a school and a church, especially when the land comprises a sizeable portion of the Holland Marsh, a very significant specialty crop area in the Greenbelt."
C4CA supports and works with the community of King Township, which faces a similar situation with respect to a 393 megawatt gas fired power plant in King Township.
C4CA is a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations calling for an immediate reconsideration of the proposed 975 megawatt gas fired power plant in the Oakville/Mississauga community in view of apparent safety, health and other risks. The plant would be located extremely close to many homes and schools alongside critical railway lines and highway arteries in an already unfairly burdened community suffering from toxic air according to provincial and federal government studies.
TAKE A STAND. IT'S NOT TOO LATE. Go to www.c4ca.org for more information.
SOURCE CITIZENS FOR CLEAN AIR (C4CA)
For further information: For further information: Jill Fairbrother, (416) 788-0539 (mobile), Jill@jillfairbrother.com