The next chapter in the Port Fuels application to build an energy from waste facility on Hamilton Port Authority property will likely either involve submitting the project to a full environmental assessment or at least the provision of mu more information. A peer review report by consultant WSP Canada Inc expresses concerns similar to those raised by project opponents, that the technology being proposed was based on results from a plant in Swindon UK and WSP’s concern was that “is that performance data for the Swindon plant is only available for a specific, relatively high quality feedstock and only for short term trials. The performance of the process on other feed stocks cannot be verified at this time.
A person familiar with the process says the public may think that an environmental screening represents a shortcut, but told the Bay Observer that the main difference between an environmental screening and an environmental assessment is the requirement that the proponent explore other sites and evaluate them as possible sites. “In this case we have not looked at other sites,” the source told the Bay Observer. “As far as environmental impacts go, the screening looks at exactly the same criteria as a full environmental assessment. The amount of detailed environmental information will not increase.”
In a background paper Port Fuels states, “material that is currently land filled would instead be recovered for its mineral components and energy value – ultimately, re-used by the same industry that produced the waste.” The WSP report that the proposed plant does conform to city Zoning bylaws.
The facility will cost $100-million and create 100 construction jobs and 30-50 fulltime clean tech jobs, additional spin-off jobs and $500,000 annually in municipal taxes, according to the release. The company says it commissioned a human health study that was not required in the screening process in response to community concerns.
The company has established a Community Liaison Committee which consists of 15 members .It has met three times in 2015. They last met on March 26. CLC members include: Clean Air Hamilton, South Sherman Neighbourhood Hub, Keith Neighbourhood Hub, Gala Hub, Bay Area Restoration Council, Hamilton Fire Department, Environment Hamilton, McMaster University. In December 2014, the Keith Neighbourhood Hub, representing the community closest to the facility, formally endorsed the project.