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Beach Triangle Residents Association

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The Beach Triangle Residents Association, Toronto, Ontario

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Stop the Portlands Powerplant

By John Ellis

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The BTRA Board is supporting the City of Toronto and the Toronto Energy Coalition (TEC) in a campaign to stop the Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) being pushed forward by the Government of Ontario.

The PEC, if built, will be a cycled, natural gas-fired electricity generator with no capability for co-generation that is, no provision to also produce steam to help heat buildings and to drive the generator. This will pump into our already badly polluted air more than 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases, dangerous chemicals and other substances including nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.

This noxious stuff will increase our health problems, including respiratory and circulatory disorders such as asthma, pneumonia, obstructive lung disease, heart attack, congestive heart failure, heart arrhythmia, lung cancer and leukemia. Every year, declining air quality causes 1,700 premature deaths in Toronto, and thousands more are hospitalized.

The Ontario Government turned down requests for a full environmental assessment from the City of Toronto Medical Officer of Health, the South Riverdale Health Centre, City Councillors, provincial and federal elected members, and the TEC.

The financial implications raise questions as well. The PEC will produce 550 megawatts of electricity at a cost of $730 million or more, plus the cost of the natural gas (a depleting natural resource), plus the cost of a pipeline. Meanwhile, Toronto Hydro has enacted conservation measures to save 250 megawatts at a cost of $40 million.

Do the math: It costs $1.33 per megawatt to build the Portlands Powerplant, plus the cost of operating it, against a cost of only $0.16 per megawatt to conserve.

Triangle residents are encouraged to help stop the Portlands Powerplant. Visit the web site at for more information, to make a donation, to volunteer, or ask for a sign, or contact John Ellis at or 416-694-3288.