Ontario Government to release documents on re-location of power plant

Dalton McGuinty

Dalton McGuintyTHUNDER BAY – Ontario Minister of Energy, Chris Bentley has issued a statement on the decision to re-locate a power plant from Oakville. “I am pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached between the Ontario Power Authority and TransCanada Energy to relocate the proposed 900-megawatt natural gas plant originally planned for Oakville to lands at Ontario Power Generation’s Lennox Generating Station site near Bath, in eastern Ontario’s Lennox and Addington County,” stated Bentley.

The Minister’s statement comes following a decision by the Speaker of the Ontario Legislature to hold the Minister in contempt if the full disclosure was not made.

The delay enraged the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. “To ensure the Liberals are held accountable for months of hiding documents on their “seat saver” gas plant cancellations, the Ontario PCs are moving forward with a contempt motion against Energy Minister Chris Bentley on Tuesday, PC House Leader Jim Wilson said Sunday.

“Untold millions were wasted on cancelling the Oakville and Mississauga gas plants – and the McGuinty Liberals have tried every trick in the book to hide the true cost from taxpayers,” Wilson added. “They know they broke the law. This PC motion sends a clear message to the Liberals: you’re not above the law, and you must be held accountable.”

Minister Bentley said, “I would like to thank the OPA, TransCanada and Ontario Power Generation for the work they have done over the past several months to reach this agreement. The new site will take advantage of existing transmission lines and other infrastructure, as well as the expertise of local workers. The construction of the plant is expected to provide up to 600 construction jobs and approximately 25 permanent jobs.
The total costs that cannot be repurposed at the new site are approximately $40 million. This includes all payments made in relation to the original site, including the cost of engineering design and permits”.

The PCs stated in a media release issued on Sunday, “This is a sad day for Ontarians when such extraordinary steps must be taken to keep the current government honest about their decisions – and their abuse of tax dollars,” Wilson said. “What makes this even more foul is the fact the Liberals did this knowing full well the consequences for their illegal actions. They knew a Minister’s legal and political career was in jeopardy”.

Bentley said, “The decision not to move forward with the plant at the original Oakville site was made after hearing overwhelming concerns from local residents and local elected officials. We heard concerns from families and we responded”.

Bentley promised, “This afternoon, in response to the Speaker’s ruling, we will submit all relevant documents related to the Oakville gas plant, and the cancelled plant in Mississauga, to the Standing Committee on Estimates, and also to both opposition parties.

“We said we would release the documents, and sought only to ensure they were not released prematurely, at a time when their release could jeopardize these negotiations at a cost to taxpayers”.

“Over the coming days and weeks you will read and hear lots of numbers related to the cost of the plant relocation. The only accurate cost to taxpayers for this relocation is $40 million,” continued Minister Bentley.

That might not be enough to temper down the frustration on the opposition benches. “Regardless of whether the government produces the requested documents on Monday, the PCs intend to introduce a motion that would – if passed – enable one of the Legislative Committees to conduct a proper investigation of the contempt charges and gas plant cancellations. The motion would also empower the Sergeant-at-Arms to verify that the government and external groups have produced all requested documents in full, ensuring that none are missing or edited,” concluded Wilson.

Previous articleSIU launch probe of Kenora fatality
Next articleAttawapiskat Housing Update – Progress continues, more work needed
NetNewsledger.com or NNL offers news, information, opinions and positive ideas for Thunder Bay, Ontario, Northwestern Ontario and the world. NNL covers a large region of Ontario, but are also widely read around the country and the world. To reach us by email: newsroom@netnewsledger.com Reach the Newsroom: (807) 355-1862