DC ends its legal action

With considerable regret DurhamCLEAR is ending its legal action against the garbage incinerator in Courtice. The hearing which had been scheduled for July 17 will not take place.

While we were fairly confident we could win the appeal on security of costs and move on, the legal process was dragging on so slowly that the incinerator would be built before we ever got a decision on the main motion. Although judges are supposed to be immune to such arguments, it was a growing concern whether a judge would turn back a $300 million project which was substantially completed.

The other issue weighing us down was money. Our dinner/dance fundraiser last month at the Rickard complex raised several thousand dollars - but not enough to cover outstanding legal bills.

Money is really tight in the current economic environment, and with the incinerator under construction, it is getting increasingly difficult to motivate people to dig into their pockets.

Fortunately, Eric Gillespie, our lawyer, has agreed to accept what we made at the Dinner/Dance as full payment of our bills.

We will continue to push hard towards zero waste and we will continue to point out the tragic weakness of the Region's plan to build the incinerator, but continuing the legal action would have been financially ruinous with dubious prospects.

The council meeting of June 6th was a turning point. Council was presented with new information which showed that the residents of Durham were being less wasteful (14% reduction in 5 years). Durham CLEAR president, Doug Anderson showed Council that the Region was already curtailing recycling in order to ensure their would be enough 'residual' waste left to fuel the incinerator. He also showed them that they could cancel the contract with Covanta and that this would be far cheaper than finishing it.

A few councillors tried to get updated numbers from staff but they were stonewalled by the majority who chose to bury their heads in the sand.

The wall of fear and inevitability that the Region has built around its decision is such that some normally rational councillors who had supported us in the past were persuaded that even a bad decision costing hundreds of millions of dollars was better than admitting even the possibility that circumstances might require a re-evaluation.