Council of Canadians organizer Mark Calzavara speaks at a public forum in Oshawa in opposition to the proposed ethanol refinery on Lake Ontario. Photo by Robert T. Bell.
The proposed ethanol project that was to be built on the shores of Lake Ontario has been officially shelved.
Oshawa This Week reports, "Mayor John Henry and Oshawa councillors have long fought the proposed ethanol plant and he points out that both the City and the Region have passed motions opposing an ethanol plant on Oshawa's waterfront. A dedicated group of residents staunchly opposed the plant and Henry points out he went to Ottawa and hand delivered petitions with 3,600 signatures opposing the plant."
The $200 million, 12-storey ethanol refinery was to be constructed on Lake Ontario waterfront next to a provincially significant 123-hectare coastal wetland.
The Oshawa Port Authority approved the refinery in 2012. Five of the seven members of the Port Authority had been appointed by the Harper government. FarmTech Energy Corporation was to build the plant. Yesterday (November 7), the port authority and FarmTech announced the project would not proceed.
The Council of Canadians opposed the refinery.
In July 2011, 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."
In August 2012, we helped to circulate a petition against the refinery (that as noted above was signed by 3,600 people).
In September 2012, Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara attended an open house in Oshawa to lend support to the opposition to the ethanol refinery.
In November 2012, Calzavara travelled again to Oshawa to speak at a meeting organized by the Friends of Oshawa’s Waterfront, a local group fighting the ethanol refinery.
After that meeting, Calzavara wrote, "There is no need for the ethanol plant to be built in the Oshawa harbour. There is no need to use ships to produce the ethanol. Farmtech claims they will be buying local corn to make their product and selling it in Toronto. The facility could be built in any number of places in the surrounding countryside- not on prime waterfront land with its stacks looming over the last great wetland that exists on Lake Ontario- Oshawa’s Second Marsh."
And in October 2013, Barlow spoke at a Friends of Oshawa's Waterfront-organized public forum in Oshawa opposed to the ethanol refinery.
Oshawa This Week reports, "The project [then laid] in limbo for years as lucrative ethanol subsidies from the federal government dried up."
The Council of Canadians extends its congratulations to everyone who worked to protect Lake Ontario and the wetlands from this project.