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Residents seek power plant ban

Four companies are in the running to build a $1-billion natural gas-fired power plant to serve the western GTA.

Four companies are in the running to build a $1-billion natural gas-fired power plant to serve the western GTA.

The 850-megawatt project, to be completed by the end of 2013, will be somewhere between southeast Oakville and southwest Etobicoke, according to the Ontario Power Authority.

Public opposition continues to one longstanding proposal by Sithe Global Power Southdown ULC, on a site in the Clarkson area near the Mississauga waterfront, though local politicians generally support it.

A second proposal for the western GTA is from Portlands Energy Centre LP, the partnership that runs a new peaker plant in Toronto’s portlands.

Other companies on the shortlist are Northland Power Inc. and Invenergy Canada Development Partnership, but potential sites have not yet been disclosed.

Getting power plants built in the GTA has not been easy.

Residents have expressed concerns about power plants in their midst.

Sithe’s Southdown location was approved for an 800-megawatt gas-fired plant in 2001, but plans were put on hold. An agreement was reached with opposing residents’ groups specifying the company would build higher stacks to better disperse the pollution, and strictly monitor air quality, among other conditions.

Despite the 2001 agreement, a coalition of 30 Mississauga residents’ groups wants a ban on any gas-fired power plants in the Clarkson area.

Dorothy Tomiuk, spokesperson for the Mississauga Residents’ Associations Network, cited a 2003-05 environment ministry study that found the air over the industrialized area is “stressed.”

In Toronto’s Beach community, residents lost their battle to halt the Portlands power plant.

And York Region towns refused to allow one in their communities.

Last month, the province’s power authority announced a site had been chosen on Dufferin Street in the Township of King.

The OPA will announce the winning proposal by June 30.

 
 
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