Leave to appeal hearing set for July 17

The hearing for Leave to Appeal the Security of Costs decision has been set for July 17 in Oshawa.

In his decision on Dec.  15 (see earlier story below) Justice Lauwers had ruled that DurhamCLEAR had to post a $40,000 security of costs bond towards Covanta's legal bills in order to proceed. This presented an insurmountable barrier.

However, Lauwers also ruled that DurhamCLEAR qualifies as a public interest litigant, and the courts are meant to be accessible to all qualified litigants.

Public Meeting for 'Elect the Chair'

The 1st stage in the triple majority required to make the public election of the Regional Chair a reality occurs:

Public Meeting
Wednesday, April 4, 2012, 10:00 am,
Durham Region Headquarters, Council Chambers. 

This meeting is to hear the public's voice on the direct election of the Regional Chair. 

You do not need to register in order to speak.  This is an open, public meeting.  A strong showing is needed. 

Once the public has finished, the Regional Council will vote on the proposed by-law. 

Please come out and show your support for this important democratic step.  Share this on your facebook page.

Assuming the motion passes (a simple majority is required), a similar motion will be presented to each of the local council. If 4 of those council ( a majority) pass the motion and the population of those 4 municipalities is a majority of the Region then the province will amend the election procedure in time for the 2014 municipal elections.

Go to accountabilitystartsatthetop.com for lots of additional information including the results of the referenda which were held across the Region in the last election.

Court Date ??

From previous stories, emails and announcements, you would have been expecting an announcement Feb. 8 re the further court date on the 'Leave to Appeal' the security of costs ruling from our Nov. 30 court appearance.

We're still waiting. That's the short answer.

The longer answer is more convoluted.

The lawyers on both sides had been told to appear in Newmarket Court on Feb 8 to get a date - which they did.

The judge (or somebody) tells them 'you don't belong here - the Oshawa court sets the dates'; so off to Oshawa. The Oshawa court says 'sure, you can have a 2 1/2 hr block on a couple of specific days in July.

But the lawyer for Covanta (Parla) says she needs 3 hr for her case which would have meant going on a rolling schedule where they can call you anytime during a week with only an hours notice. Our lawyer declined that on the grounds that he would have to clear his entire caseload for a week and 2 1/2 hrs is fine with him.

So we have no date yet but we're working on it. We will post the date as soon as we know.

Bottle Drive II

UPDATE: The next bottle drive will be held on Saturday, May 26 (the Saturday after the Victoria Day long weekend). Note that this is the same day as our "Keep it Clean" Dinner/Dance. You can either drop your empties off at the locations below, or bring them with you to the dinner. There will be a couple of vans?trucks near the door to take them.

Save all your wine/liquor/beer bottles and beer cans and drop them off at one of the locations below. They are all the same except for an additional one in Courtice.

We are also collecting 1-litre & 1 quart glass food jars (wide mouth - sauces, pickles, etc.). These have been requested by a local catererwho has offered to buy them at a good price. So check your basement shelves.

Saturday, May 26, 10 am-4 pm

550,000 tonne recycling plant in Cambridge, Ontario to cost only $30 million

Waste Management, Inc recently announced that it was constructing a new recycling plant in Cambridge, Ontario. The story appeared in Solid Waste and Recycling magazine

The announcement is of interest to Durham Region for a number of reasons:

  • the size: 550,000 tonnes - more than the total garbage collected in Durham
  • the cost: $30 million - about a tenth the cost of the incinerator
  • the timeframe: less than a year - recycling plants are generally regarded as good for the environment and don't require extensive approvals processes
  • the range of materials to be processed: in addition to the usual bluebox materials, it will separate and recycle construction waste, electronic waste and even hazardous materials like batteries and CFLs
  • the jobs: 80

Partial Building Permit issued

A building permit has been issued for an initial portion of the Energy for Waste Incinerator.

In an email, Rick Pigeon, Clarington's Chief Building Official states, "This permit is for a small  part of the main building and is for a footing and foundation for the refuse pit area and tipping area only. The floor area of this part of the project is 1466 square meters in area with a construction value of $2,000,000."

While disappointing, this was not unexpected. Given the glacial pace of our legal action, the pressure on Clarington to 'get on with it' must have been powerful.

This raises the ante somewhat, as the more money invested in the site, the greater the financial downside if (when) the zoning is overturned.

 

Zero-Waste Coalition challenges Energy Minister on Inclusion of EFW in FIT

Yesterday (Jan 24), the Ontario Zero-Waste Coalition led by its founder, Liz Bennian and internationally renowned ZeroWaste campaigner, Paul Connett, held a Press Conference at Queen's Park to challenge the notion that "energy from waste" is fit to be included in the FIT (Feed in Tarrif) program of the Energy Ministry's Green Energy program.

Information emerged in the last few weeks that Energy Minister Chris Bentley was considering including energy produced from burning municipal waste in the Provincial government’s
FIT program as part of the Program review that is currently underway.

"Providing a taxpayer funded subsidy to large, multinational companies to generate dirty energy is something the 22 member groups of OZWC strongly oppose." said Liz Benneian in a press release. The full release can be read here

DurhamCLEAR is part of the Coalition but did not attend the news conference. Linda Gasser and Wendy Bracken were there to represent the groups in Durham Region.

The Press conference was a follow up on a strong and detailed letter sent to Bentley on Jan 18. (attached)

Bottle Drive - Sat. Jan 14

To help raise money, DurhamCLEAR is collecting wine/liquor/beer bottles and beer cans as well as 1-litre glass jars (any kind) which have been requested by a local caterer.

Saturday, January 14, 10 am-4 pm

DC to appeal security portion of decision

After thoroughly digesting Justice Lauwers' decision, DurhamCLEAR has decided to appeal the security portion of his decision.

While we were delighted that he gave us standing to proceed and that he declared that we qualified as a public interest litigant, We were stymied by the requirement to post security. DurhamCLEAR does not have $40,000 and it would be impossible to raise that amount within the time frame allowed.

Up until this decision there has been a generally accepted legal principle that public interest litigants were treated differently with respect to cost awards, and were not required to post security for costs.

This ruling is a concern not just to DurhamCLEAR but to public interest litigants throughout Canada.

DurhamCLEAR has little choice but to appeal this aspect of his decision.

As a result, an application for Leave to Appeal was filed on Friday, December 23.

Our lawyers will appear in Newmarket court on Feb 8, 2012 to set a date for the Leave to Appeal hearing. If Leave is granted, then the actual appeal will go before a three-judge panel at a date still farther in the future.

Should leave be granted, this appeal will greatly lengthen the legal process. Among other things this gives us longer to raise the money to pay, not only our own legal bills, but potentially give us enough money to post the $40,000 should we lose the appeal.

Meanwhile, the Region has indicated that it wants to start construction of the incinerator this month (January). Clarington has granted Site Plan approval and an application for the Building Permit on a portion of the project has been received. It is "for a small part of the main building and is for a footing and foundation for the refuse pit area and tipping area only".

A mixed decision - we can proceed

Justice Lauwers released his decision late afternoon, Dec 15.

He has ruled that DurhamCLEAR has met the requirements to proceed with the application that, if Durham Region proceeds with the incinerator on the Courtice site, it would be violating Clarington's zoning by-law and Official Plan. Durham Region has lost its motion to stop our application from moving forward. That's the first piece of good news.

In addition, Lauwers has agreed that we are a public interest litigant. That's the 2nd piece of good news.

However, he has ruled on the security of costs motion that we need to have "some skin in the game" - specifically, DurhamCLEAR is required to post $40,000 in security at least 7 days "before the final argument of the application" (possibly March or later). It is important to note that this is just security and would be returned to us if we win - and in our view our prospects appear very good.

However, as all of you are aware, DurhamCLEAR does not have $40,000 - indeed we have an already substantial legal bill that needs to be paid.

This part of the ruling is clearly a disappointment. Nevertheless, Eric and our other lawyers are keen to see the action proceed and are still reviewing the ruling. They have already identified a number of options for us to consider and we will be exploring these with them in the coming days.

We remain confident that we can find a way to proceed and look forward to arguing the main motion in court.

We're still very much in the game. Yes, you can fight city hall!

The full text of Lauwers' ruling is here

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