Group of Elmira residents protesting biofuel plant
Published Sunday, April 15, 2012 5:35PM EDT
A green energy project in Elmira has the green light, but those who opposed the bio-waste facility are fighting to the last minute to get the approval reversed.
Opponents say the province didn't even consult with the township in the placement of the plant.
Two years ago, Michael Purves-Smith put up the "No to Bio in Elmira" sign when he heard about a plan to build a biofuel dump at the end of Martin Lane.
"We don't seem to have prevented it from happening although as you probably know, we've launched an appeal."
Purves-Smith is part of a group that has opposed the construction of the facility that would take organic waste like manure and food waste, transforming it into electricity.
"The quarrel is with the fact that we are now being forced to accept the fact that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of bio-waste are going to be trucked through Elmira."
He will be presenting an appeal to the environmental review tribunal on May 8th. He will have to demonstrate that the plant will cause serious harm to animal, plant or human health.
The township says they have found a solution to the controversy, by suggesting the plant be relocated near the airport in Breslau.
The amendment to the contract would have to come from the Ontario Power Authority.
"They haven't amended a contract before when it comes to the green energy act and that's when the tricky part comes in. It's kind of new territory and new ground for them," says Woolwich Mayor Todd Cowan.
Cowan says they have a very small window to appeal to the Ontario Power Authority, but are still hopeful the amendment can happen.
Behind Woolwich Bio-En is President Chuck Martin. He says the plant is good news for Elmira.
"It does have a bit of an odor, but it's not unpleasant. It doesn't smell like manure anymore."
"There are thousands of these in Germany and there are not thousands of problems."
Martin says they have listened to the idea of a new location.
"There are other possible locations, good locations, but they come with hurdles. Legal hurdles, financial hurdles and grid capacity hurdles."
He says those hurdles could prove costly.
"Stop the Stink Elmira" will be holding a protest Monday night in front of the Woolwich Township building at 5:30 P.M. They want council to support their appeal to the environmental tribunal.