Works Commissioner admits at Pickering Council Meeting that Outfall EA was rejected by Regional Council - but nothing happened

At the Pickering Council meeting on Jan. 27, 2014, Cliff Curtis acknowledged that the Duffin Creek Outfall EA had never been approved at Regional Council, and that a motion to 'receive' it had actually been defeated.

The context of this admission was a staff recommendation at Pickering Council to support the conclusion of the EA that the Duckbill diffuser were the best solution. In response to this, Doug Anderson made a delegation which included the subject of the EA's approval by Council. This is an excerpt

This EA has never been approved by Regional Council other than the initial decision to do it. In fact, it was rejected at the phase 2 stage.  The sequence of events is a bit convoluted so bear with me.

On Feb. 21 of last year there was a joint works committee meeting at which John Presta (Region Environmental Commissioner) did a presentation on the outfall phase 2 EA report. I also did a presentation at that meeting advocating tertiary treatment. The EA report was subsequently approved at that meeting.

However the following week on Feb 26 & 27 there were public information forums in Ajax and Pickering which generated a fair bit of heat. SO.. when the report went to Council on March 6, the items related to the outfall were separated from the rest of Works committee report and then defeated by a vote of 13- 9. Councillor Rodrigues voted with the majority against the report. Mayor Ryan and Councillor O'Connell were absent.

The actual motion was to receive the report for information. Now I would have thought that when Council refused to even receive a report there would have been some repercussions, but apparently not. I enquired through one of the councillors how this could be and he forwarded me the Clerk's response, and I quote "The recommendation to receive the report for information was defeated. There was no action being recommended other than to receive the report for information. It does not change any action previously taken by Council."

And then the clerk goes on to cite a decision from Council more than a year earlier on Jan 25, 2012 to start the EA. So apparently, that decision from a year earlier trumped a specific decision by Council to reject the Phase 2 report.

I think any reasonable person would shake their head at this perverted logic.

Any way, as you all know by now, the EA simply proceeded. I enquired at the last SAC (Stakeholders' Advisory Committee) meeting as to whether the final report would be presented to Regional Council and I was told it didn't have to be.

So who creates policy in Durham Region. One would have thought it would be Council, but apparently not. It appears that staff and consultants can make decisions regardless of Council’s input.

Curtis' acknowledgement that the motion to receive had been defeated came after Doug's delegation in response to a question from one of the Pickering councillors.

The meeting went on to postpone any decision on the staff recommendation pending new and more definitive information.