Friday, July 18, 2008

Province pulls plug on power station

Queen’s Park has categorically ruled out the old Lakeview Generating Station lands as a potential home for a new gas-fired power plant.The announcement was made today by Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman at a press conference on a small hill overlooking the site.

Smitherman did not mince words.“Lakeview’s future in electricity generation is over,” he said to loud cheers from the gathering that included MPP for Mississauga South Charles Sousa, Mayor
Hazel McCallion, several City councillors, and Jim Tovey, president of the 800-member Lakeview Ratepayers’ Association.The LRA has fought against putting another power plant at the Lakeview site, which is still owned by Ontario Power Generation.

The Lakeview Generating Station was demolished just over a year ago after 43 years of producing electricity — and, critics say, polluting the community. It was closed as part of the government’s plan to phase out coal-fired plants.Smitherman said it was tempting to keep Lakeview’s transmission lines “humming with new forms of electrical generation.“But it’s our conclusion — and faced with strong (opposition) from local voices — that there was an opportunity to bring to the Ontario waterfront this prominent public asset.”Smitherman, however, noted south Mississauga hasn’t been eliminated as a potential site for locating a natural gas plant. In fact, says Smitherman, his ministry will direct the Province’s energy planner, the Ontario Power Authority, to launch a bidding process for an 850-megawatt station in the area.(Currently, there are proposals for two power plants in south Mississauga).

“Ruling out Lakeview as a site for this new gas plant is an important moment in the history of our community,” said Sousa. “Many people in our community have worked hard for this, and now we can continue to work together on the next chapter, to revitalize our waterfront.”Calling Smitherman a “decision-maker,” McCallion noted the City of Mississauga had been kept in the dark on its plan for the site by Queen’s Park for a long time. City Council voted unanimously in February to approve a citizen-driven plan to build a $2-billion waterfront community on 200 hectares around the site.

Although she welcomed the announcement, McCallion wanted more from the minister.“I had hoped you would announce this morning that Eastern Power was off the list because it, too, is a major concern and has been approved, unfortunately by the OPA.“We’re prepared as a City — have always been — to look at power generating plants. So we have accepted our responsibility to make sure we don’t object to them if they are in the right location,” she told Smitherman.

Tovey also hailed the announcement. Lakeview residents, he said, have been vehemently opposed to locating another plant on the site and instead have recommended the land be used as part of an extensive waterfront renewal project that will include parks and recreation July 16,08

Lakeview Land Future Proposal

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