Here is a report on the Bluewater Council meeting this week, from resident Hal March, who made a presentation to the Council.
What a disaster! Last night, Bluewater council passed the Building Permit changes unanimously without making a single modification! The IWT companies are happy for sure. For details of the by-law check http://www.town.bluewater.on.ca/
Mayor Bill Dowson did not declare a conflict until the last five minutes of the meeting and led the meeting for the three hours until the vote. He asked the very first leading questions to lawyer Eric Gillespie, which were clearly asked to support his agenda. When he declared a conflict it was after being asked about his prior conflicts (with the same by-law) and he said it was about building permits not IWT.Clearly all the changes from the original were solely for IWT and due to Nextera and Northland negotiations with Bluewater. Two by-laws were passed the amended building permit fee and the decommissioning and it was the latter Bill Dowson had a conflict on. Councillors Klopp and Becker who also previously declared a conflict were absent.
There was a gentleman there who warned Council about the risks of putting IWT and related equipment on top of the massive underground natural gas storage in Bluewater. No one seemed to be too concerned, even when compared with unforeseen disasters like what happened in Lac Megantic. $5million insurance should cover it right?Councillor John Gillespie was the most disappointing as he indicated the original building by-law he proposed for IWT was there to protect Bluewater not the residents. He seems to think that if Bluewater cannot afford to take on the IWT, each individual resident can! There was no protection discussed for the residents, it was all about protecting the government of Bluewater.They took no notice of the Bluewater Shoreline Residents Association suggestion to get the parent company guarantee beyond the $5 million unspecific insurance policy. This was clearly done for the wind company demands who had representatives in the audience.Paul Steckle a former Liberal MP with IWT leases stood up and demanded that council provide the legal cost “wasted” on fighting IWT at the next council meeting. Zurich residents and the Zurich chamber complained about the notice but refused to ask for a vote to defer. There was little notice: the only reason there were 40 or so people there was they read about it on Monday on the municipal website.A suggestion was made that the decision be postponed several times, but Eric Gillespie said they needed to talk about that in-camera. After the in-camera session, they all looked very sheepish when they came back and obviously agreed to go 100% support so no one looked bad.I could see George Irvin was disgusted by the look on his face, but he fell in line anyway.I feel like we have been sold out due to a council fearful of legal action, and they should have been at least willing to force a corporate guarantee from the publicly held companies.