Clarington still unsure how to stop build of anerobic digestion facility in Courtice

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Published November 17, 2021 at 10:24 am

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Clarington still hungers for a full environmental assessment of the Anaerobic Digestion Facility proposed for Courtice but appear unsure of the best way to go about it.

The “confidential litigation matter” came up at a special meeting of council Monday – the only item on the agenda – and after deliberating in-camera for nearly an hour decided to send it back to staff for “direction.”

The municipality declared themselves in mid-2020 as “unwilling hosts” of the facility (which composts organic waste and produces a renewable natural gas with very little emissions or strong odours) and demanded a full environmental assessment before any shovel hits the ground.

The Province then asked Clarington last fall to provide “clear reasoning” why the EA was justified and to prove they have tried to resolve the issue with Durham Region.

One year later and the municipality is no further ahead and Ward 3 Councillor Corinna Trail, who is on record calling the proposed facility a “rotten food factory,” accused staff of dragging their feet on the matter at a previous council meeting.

The direction from staff at the November 1 meeting was to provide two options for the environment ministry: the EA or that the Province intervene based on the south Courtice neighbourhood’s Provincially Significant Employment Zone designation.

That motion was carried at the meeting, with $50,000 set aside for consultant fees to prepare the formal request.

The preferred site for the facility is on Courtice Road South, on lands owned by the Region and right next to the $300 million boondoggle that is the Durham-York Energy Centre, an incinerator that is already nearing capacity just four years after opening. It’s also near the planned site of the new headquarters for Ontario Power Generation and not far from where a future Courtice waterfront park and GO station will be.

The new facility will remove non-combustible material and recyclables from garbage currently sent to the incinerator and would allow pet waste and dirty diapers to be put in green bins – diverting even more waste from landfills.

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