Thursday, June 20, 2019


Today's Woolwich Observer published the following story titled "Biogas plant operator proposes some changes to the Elmira facility". Over six years ago there were convoluted and complicated discussions and negotiations involving local citizens and Woolwich Bio-En Inc. Formal hearings appeared to be necessary although eventually a deal was worked out between the lawyer for the citizens' group and Bio-En. The deal included regular public meetings between the company and a group of citizens. I attended those meetings for at least a couple of years or more and overall was very satisfied with the company's willingness and forthrightness. At the time I posted here in the Elmira Advocate after each public meeting.

In hindsight I believe that Chuck Martin, Earl Brubacher and others to a certain degree were victimized by the Ontario Ministry of Environment's (MOE) absolutely horrid reputation as paper tigers. Assurances to the public that any obnoxious odours escaping the plant would be dealt with severely by the MOE were met with bitter laughter based upon the MOE's impotence regarding Uniroyal Chemical, Scavenger Recycling, and the pet food plant.

At last night's council meeting Chuck Martin advised councillors that the draft deal with the MOE stated that 80 trucks per day in and 80 trucks per day out was to be the maximum but somehow that was reduced to 40 trucks in and 40 trucks out. Vivienne Delaney was permitted to speak briefly to that and advised that the reduced number was no accident but a result of discussions/negotiations with the citizens group.

Overall after five years of operation it would be difficult to criticize the company and its operations. Yes truck traffic both for congestion at Church and Arthur St. was and is an issue but there is also the health hazards directly linked to diesel engine exhaust. That said the numbers of gas and diesel vehicles going through that intersection can hardly be blamed on one small nearby company. This company appears to have a very good track record with the neighbours and they have lived up to their commitments. Increasing their maximum truck movements per day is a MOE decision and Mr. Martin was essentially updating council and the public on the matter.

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