Regional Councillors request medical opinion, question contract with York Region

Durham Region councillors voted Wednesday June 29 to request a medical opinion from Durham Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Kyle, on the effects of allowing the proposed incinerator to vent double the amount of a critical pollutant known as PM2.5 than was originally predicted. The motion, moved by Oshawa councillor Nancy Diamond and seconded by Ajax councillor Shaun Collier, also asked for details on costs of conditions of approval and for details around the co-ownership contract with York Region.

The incinerator Certificate of Approval (C. of A.) allows for twice the amount of PM2.5 -- fine particulate matter, 2.5 microns in diameter -- that was assessed in the Environmental Assessment. The application for the C. of A. had no studies of the effects on human health of the higher emissions. PM2.5 is known as a "non-threshold" pollutant, meaning that there is no level of exposure that is considered harmless. The level of PM2.5 at the proposed Courtice site is already close to the Canada Wide Standard.

Concern over the health risks related to PM2.5 emissions is partly what caused residents and councillors in Oakville to take action to force the provincial government to scrap the planned gas fired generating station last year.

The motion that called for the new medical opinion and cost information also requested details of the proposed contract with York Region for co-ownership of the planned incinerator in Courtice. The staff report will be discussed at a special council meeting that is expected to be called in July.

As an example, section 4.7 as written is a disincentive to any future attempts by Durham Region to protect public health through increased monitoring or testing. The report is attached to this article (Durham Region Works 2011-WR-10).

The motion passed by a slim margin of 15-13. Here is the recorded vote.
YES: 15
Mover, N. Diamond
Seconder S. Collier
J. Aker, B. Chapman, L. Coe, J. Drumm, A. England, J. Henry, C. Jordan, D. Mitchell, J. Neal, J. O’Connell, S. Parish, P. Rodrigues, W. Woo

NO (against motion): 13
B. Drew, A. Foster, T. DiMarimpietri, B. McLean, C. Mercier, M. Novak, G.L. O’Connor, P. Perkins, N. Pidwerbecki, D. Ryan, J. Ballinger, D. Bath, T. Clayton

Report 2011-WR-10 June 15.11 Co-Owners agreement.pdf1.17 MB

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