Let NIMBYs pay for cancelled power plants.

There needs to be a better solution to this power plant problem in Mississauga and Oakville. These were natural gas powered plants that some people said should not be built where they were planned. It boils down to an argument about location.

And the Not-In-My-Back-Yard people won. These NIMBYs were vociferous and backed by the Conservative Party of Ontario. The NIMBY organization in Mississauga is called the Coalition of Homeowners for Intelligent Power (CHIP) and claims some 10,000 homeowners in Mississauga and Etobicoke as members.

Obviously, there should have been some political oversight of this argument when the Ontario Power Authority had to go to the Ontario Municipal Board to force Mississauga and then Oakville to stop objecting to the plants. It involved a 280 megawatt generating capability, located on Loreland Avenue in Mississauga and a 900 megawatt plant on former Ford property on Royal Windsor Drive in Oakville. These clean-burning gas plants were replacing the old Lakeview coal-fired plant. They were needed to meet the rapidly growing demand for power in the two municipalities.

For some reason, the government dropped the ball but this was hardly the first mistake made by the McGuinty government. The actual decision to cancel the plants was in the heat of the 2011 election campaign. It was a purely political action under the direction of Liberal Campaign Chair Greg Sorbara. As Sorbara acted under the authority of Premier McGuinty, the chickens have to roost on him.

But, to be fair, why should Sorbara, McGuinty or even over-paid Ontario Power Authority executives have to open their piggy banks and cough up whatever all this costs. This CHIP organization should also be willing to pay for the cancellation. They were the people who kept demanding the end of the Mississauga plant. And the Auditor General tells us that the Mississauga plant only cost Ontario $275 million. When you spread it across 10,000 people, it is only $27,500 per homeowner. They said cancel the plant. They got what they wanted. It is now time to pay.

We hope that people in Oakville are richer than people in Mississauga. We hear that the auditor’s report on the Oakville plant costs might be four times as much as Mississauga. They are going to need deep pockets!

What we do not want is for the people throughout the rest of Ontario to pay for this damn foolishness. We need a rule that says if you do not like something such as a wind turbine, you should have the right to buy the property it is on and chop it down. Or how about if you do not like casinos: all you have to do is offer to pay the city the extra taxes the casino would generate and live in a casino-free community. Think about it!

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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