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WIN! Port Hope council votes against proposed incinerator

The Council of Canadians Northumberland chapter has been actively opposing the Entech-REM gasification facility proposed for Wesleyville, a municipality of Port Hope, Ontario.

On July 30, Northumberland Today reported, “It’s all over but the shouting. In a recorded vote [on July 29], Port Hope council voted unanimously against rezoning and official plan amendments to allow Entech-REM to build a garbage gasification / incinerator plant in Wesleyville. The result of the vote was announced to loud cheers and applause in the overcrowded council chamber. Citizens, notably Port Hope Residents For Managing Waste Responsibly (PHR4MWR), have campaigned vigorously for two years, trying to persuade council to turn down REM’s application.” 

After the vote, PHR4MWR tweeted, “Thank you to all of the citizens of Northumberland that came out to support the fight! The strength of our community was out in full force.”

Our chapter worked with and supported PHR4MWR. They raised concerns about the facility at municipal council meetings in Northumberland County, Hamilton Township, Trent Hills, Cobourg and Cramahe Township. They launched a petition that said, “The creation of a ‘Landfill in The Sky’ is simply not good for people, not good for politicians, not good for health issues and certainly not good for business.”

The chapter opposed the incinerator over concerns that it would release chemicals and microscopic particulants into the air and eventually into the water. The proposed plant would process up to 540,000 tonnes of garbage a year, even though Port Hope produces less than 5,200 tonnes of municipal waste per year, and all of Northumberland County combined produces less than 35,000 tonnes of waste per year. The vast majority of the waste would be trucked from a 100-kilometre radius to the facility.

There are still some outstanding concerns about the fate of the incinerator. Northumberland Today notes, “REM’s application is still before the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, and a Human Health and Environmental Risk Assessment (at REM’s expense) is currently underway. [PHR4MWR spokesperson Louise] Blecher said PHR4MWR is keenly aware that the company could appeal council’s decision to the Ontario Municipal Board and her group is now planning to align itself with the municipality to fight any such application.”

But Port Hope councillor Mary Lou Ellis says, “I feel very hopeful that REM will not pursue the OMB. I would hope they know this will not be a good fit for our community and they will try and find a more suitable location. …I’m hoping when the (health) studies that the Ministry of Environment are working on come forward, we’ll have a more complete picture and I’m sure (Entech-REM) will too.”

Congratulations to the Northumberland chapter, Port Hope Residents For Managing Waste Responsibility and everyone who contributed to this win!

For more, please read Northumberland chapter against proposed gasification plant.