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Clear majority of Oshawa residents reject a waterfront ethanol plant

A new opinion poll commissioned by the Council of Canadians shows that a clear majority of 55% of Oshawa residents do not want an ethanol plant built on their waterfront, with twice as many respondents opposed to the location as those in favour (28%).

When asked which level of government should have made the decision on the project, 50% said the local level while only 9% chose the federal level as the most appropriate decision makers. The automated telephone poll was conducted by Strategic Communications on October 9th, 2012, yielding a sample of 735 completed surveys and a margin of error of +/-3.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The results stand in stark contrast to a recent poll paid for by the Oshawa Port Authority (OPA), which they have used to justify allowing Farmtech Energy Corporation to build a ten-storey tall ethanol refinery on OPA controlled lands along the Oshawa waterfront. The OPA poll surveyed people from as far away as Whitby and Clarington, which are too distant to be affected by the refinery.

“Decisions made about waterfront development will affect Oshawa for decades, so let the people who live there have the final say,” said Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “How dare the Conservatives force this unwanted project upon the city?”

The OPA was created by the Harper government and several of the OPA board members it appointed have close ties to the Conservative Party.

“We don’t know how badly the ethanol plant will stink, but the stench of the secret deals that brought it to the heart of Oshawa will cling to this project forever,” said Mark Calzavara, Ontario organizer for the Council of Canadians. “The Great Lakes are a commons – a shared resource that all residents have the responsibility to protect for current and future generations. Decisions must reflect local input and respect a community’s right to say no to harmful projects.”