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Beach Triangle Residents Association

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The Beach Triangle Residents Association, Toronto, Ontario

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Portlands Energy Centre, Community Liaison Committee

By David Windrim

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George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy & Infrastructure has said: "as Toronto continues to grow, we need to have a reliable source of energy in our own back yard. At the Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) meeting held on September 30th we discussed how the PEC is an essential piece of the plan to meet Toronto's energy requirement and secure its economic future.

This summer, the PEC operated in “simple cycle” mode and created 340 MWs to help meet the power demands of the city. The plant was shut down at the end of Sept. to complete work on the combined cycle phase. In combined cycle, waste heat is used to power a steam turbine that will boost the plant’s output to 550 MWs. This also increases the efficiency of the plant that, in turn, reduces pollution. This plant primarily serves the area between Highway 427, Victoria Park, Eglinton Ave. and the lake.

Coincidental with this, the City is moving ahead with new disclosure rules for businesses both large and small that emit 25 specific toxic chemicals into the air. This “community right to know” bylaw, if approved, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, with a phase-in period for businesses. The collected data will be put on the Internet, where residents will be able to search for information about the presence of pollutants in their neighborhoods

Toronto’s bylaw, which will be considered this month by the Board of Health, would be more stringent than existing Federal rules and proposed provincial legislation. Current federal rules require only companies that spew large amounts of chemicals to report. It applies to about 350 firms.

Toronto’s bylaw would include small and medium sized companies, perhaps as many as 7000, to disclose that information. Failure to do so would result in fines of $5K to $25K. Included would be food and beverage manufacturers, automotive repair and maintenance shops, dry cleaning plants and funeral parlors. Gas stations will be excluded, as they are now federally exempt.

These are important new tools that will allow interested members of the community to be informed of airborne contaminants that could be hazardous to their health. For more information on the “community right to know” bylaw please visit the Toronto Public Health website: www.toronto.ca/health/hphe/enviro_info.htm