Halton cancels incinerator plan, other changes

Ontario’s Halton Region decided to drop its plan to build a large waste-to-energy incinerator. The planning committee (led by new regional chair Gary Carr) voted unanimously to cancel the plan to construct a large incinerator to burn waste from the Greater Toronto Area. One possible reason was a report from a local medical health officer which portrayed waste incineration as potentially having negative effects on human health and the environment.

Also, York Region (north of Toronto) has stepped back from a partnership with neighbouring Durham Region to build and operate a $250-million mass-burn incinerator on an equal basis. Instead of paying half the capital costs and using half its capacity, York is scaling down to 12 per cent of the capital costs and capacity. This could mean the plant will never be built.

According to industry insiders, York started sending signals a couple of months ago that it was scaling back its commitment because it’s looking at turning garbage into pellets that can be burned elsewhere. York is apparently looking at and will likely commit its residuals to another thermal option located in York that will likely be available in advance of a Durham-York facility. The other facility is the Dongara facility which in fact will generate fuel pellets. The company is looking for an Ontario-based user but will likely use cement kilns located in Michigan in the interim.

The setbacks or changes in Halton and York come on the heels of a possible dissolution of a partnership between the City of Hamilton and Niagara Region, which had until recently joint-ventured on a waste plan that included an option – recommended by consultants – to incinerate residue (post-recycling) waste.

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