Regions schedule Ground Breaking gala - join our demonstration

In spite of our pending legal action to stop the incinerator, the Regions are planning a gala ground breaking ceremony on August 17th at the site on Osborne Rd. It is by invitation only (see invitation). (We weren't invited.) The invite says "indoors" (tent?) and "business attire". The time is 11am to 2pm with the ceremony scheduled for 11:30.

Corinna Traill has written a blog about it here.

Presumably the press will be invited and we need to ensure that they are well aware that the legal action is underway and that digging a few holes in the site does not build an incinerator. We need to ensure that the stories that get written are about our protest and the legal limbo rather than about the ground breaking.

We need to be at the site by 10:30am in order to catch people as they arrive.

This is an opportunity to show our strength and ensure that everybody attending is well aware of our determination to stop it.

We need a couple of volunteers who are willing to coordinate this. Email us at

Court Date Postponed

The date of the preliminary hearing on DurhamCLEAR's application to disallow the construction of the incinerator on the grounds that it violates the site zoning, has been postponed to September. No specific date has been set at this time. It will be posted here on the website as soon as we know.

The date was postponed because the lawyers for both the Region and Clarington indicated they were unavailable on August 12th.

The entire court process is expected to take a couple of months minimum.

Media Coverage

Story in the This Week chain, Wed. July 27 Wed. July 27.

There is a subsequent story in This Week that covers the Special Council meeting and the deputions. here

Story in Oshawa Express Wed. July 27.

Melanie Ng of CityTV News interviewed Doug at the incinerator site on Wednesday. Doug was wearing his "say NO to Incineration" T-shirt. click here.  An online story based on the same interview is here

Doug was also interviews at the site by Radio Canada French language TV.

T-shirts are available from DurhamCLEAR for only $15.

Council approves co-owner agreement - votes to proceed

Durham Council gave the go-ahead for the incinerator at the Special Meerting on Tuesday, July 26.

The vote as I recorded it was:

For: 16    Aker, Ballinger, Bath, Chapman, Clayton, Coe, Drew, England, Foster, McLean, Mercier, O'Connor, Perkins, Pidwerbecki, Ryan, Woo

Against: 7    Drumm, Henry, Jordan, Neal, O'Connell, Parish, Rodriguez

Absent: 5    Collier, Diamond, Marimpietri, Mitchell, Novak

The result was not unexpected.

The biggest discussion was over whether York Region should have to pay its 21% share of any monitoring and mitigation costs over and above what the Ministry requires. The Co-owner's agreement negotiated by Durham Works Commissioner, Cliff Curtis and other staff said that these would be paid 100% by whichever Region requested them. Several councillors pointed out that it was unlikely that York would ever request such measures since they don't have to breath the air downwind, but other councillors were falling all over themselves praising York as a good partner "who would do the right thing," etc.

The absence of Councillor Nancy Diamond was felt acutely. Nancy's husband had died on the weekend after a long illness and she apparently suffered a minor heart attack. She was taken to hospital but is expeced home soon.

In addition Shawn Collier who had seconded Diamond's motion at the Jun 29 meeting was also absent.

No mention was made of DurhamCLEAR's legal action

Legal action commenced against incinerator

Late Friday afternoon, DurhamCLEAR launched a legal challenge to the proposed incinerator in Clarington.

The particular challenge is based on the zoning of the property. The respondents are the Region of Durham, Covanta, and Clarington.

(You can open and download our press release here. It contains essentially the same information as in this story.)

The Notice of Application was issued in Oshawa - court file number 73935/11. Click here for the full text

Copies were sent to the three respondents.

A hearing date has been set for Friday, August 12, 2011, at 9:30am in Oshawa.

Basically, we want the Region to obey its own laws and those of Clarington. And since they are proceeding with this without the proper zoning on the property, we are asking the court to restrain them until they bring themselves into compliance through the site-specific rezong that is required in Clarington Official Plan.

The current zoning of the property (Zoning By-Law 84-63 - section 23A - D) specifically "excludes a recycling facility, material sorting or dismantling, a waste management or processing facility, or a waste incineration facility".

The Region is well aware that a rezoning application would open a huge can of worms and so they have tried to circumvent this with a bipartite Host Commuity Agreement with the Municipality of Clarington, in which they agreed that the facility would be regarded as a "public use" which would exempt the facility.

Just because two parties agree to something does not make it so.

Breakthrough (?) at Regional Council - Special Meeting called

At the last scheduled meeting before their summer break, Regional Council voted 15-13 to delay implementation of the incinerator pending more information re:

  • the cost associated with conditions laid out in the Ministry's approval of the C of A (Certificate of Approval),
  • a medical opinion from Durham’s Medical Officer of Health around the health  risks of increased emissions identified in the C of A,
  • and explanations for certain clauses in the co-owner’s agreement between Durham and York

It was heartening to see that councillors were realizing how little they really know about this project. One vote difference and the project would already be underway.

Those in favour of delay were: Aker, Chapman, Coe, Collier, Diamond, Drumm, England, Henry, Jordan, Mitchell, Neal, O'Connell, Parish, Rodrigues, and Woo.

Those opposed to delay were: Ballinger, Bath, Clayton, Drew, Foster, Marimpietri, McLean, Mercier, Novak, O'Connor, Perkins, Pidwerbecki, and Ryan.

We need to encourage those who supported the motion to keep the faith and keep lobbying those who opposed it to take a hard look at what they're voting for.

We can hope that our legal action will give them some pause to reconsider.

Special Meeting of Regional Council

Because the incinerator did not get final approval at the June 29 meeting, Chair Anderson has called a Special meeting on Tuesday, July 26 at 9:30 am to consider the required staff reports.

We can always hope that the reports will contain information that is damaging to the incineration cause, but we also know that these are staff reports and such information will be well-buried, if it's there at all.

Needed: One Large Blank Wall

We have a large 4' x 8' sign (below) in search of a wall to mount it on - preferably a highly visible location in the Courtice/Bowmanville area with lots of traffic going by.

Say No to Incineration Sign

This sign was used at the March 5 rally at the Courtice Community Centre.

If you have a good location or could approach someone who does, let us know, email us at

EFW Advisory Committee Aug 4

In the Minister's Notice of Approval for the Environmental Assessment, he mandated that there must be a 'public' Advisory Committee which was to specifically include representatives of DurhamCLEAR, Durham Environment Watch and Zero Waste 4 Zero Burning.

This committee continues to be a farce and only its 3rd meeting (since January) is scheduled for August 4 at 2:30pm in the lower level Meeting room at Regional HQ.

We fought to allow the public to attend but at the 2nd meeting only a few showed up. For this meeting we need to fill the room in order to show all the bureaucrat members of the committee that the public in Durham really care about this.

Legal Action against Incinerator Imminent

DurhamCLEAR has been working quietly for the last couple of months to develop a legal case against the incinerator. We have some of the best lawyers in the environmental field and they believe we have developed a strong case.

We are in the final stages, so expect an announcement within days. At this point, we can't say anymore..

However, we know that there will be strong pushback from the Region and Covanta and we need to be ready for anything if we are going to succeed. We need to raise $15,000. See the appeal on the right.

Zero Waste is Do-able

In order to defeat the incinerator, Regional Councillors need to be satisfied that there is a readily available alternative - which in Durham's case, because of prior decisions, cannot be landfill.

The EA did only a cursory analysis of Zero waste and rejected it - this was back in 2005 when Durham's own diversion was at 36%. Numerous councillors have also scoffed at the idea.

However, many other municipalities take it very seriously and are actively pursuing it within the near term.

In order to ensure that Durham regional councillors are aware that zero waste can be achieved, DurhamCLEAR president, Doug Anderson, made a presentation to Regional Council on April 6 using Durham-specific numbers.

The powerpoint of his presentation can be viewed HERE. This file includes the speaking notes which clarify the slides. There are also a few extra slides here which were omitted from the presentation in order to compress it into the 10-minute limit.

There are references in the presentation to other sites and the links to these are listed here:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s press announcement on achieving 77% diversion.

San Francisco's Environment Department site which links further to all sorts of information on how SF handles its waste.

Brief interview with one of the people who helped defeat efforts to locate an incinerator for San Francisco's garbage in the neighbouring community of Brisbane

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