a packed an almost empty house at Council this past Monday, on both sides of the podium. For those who weren’t there, as usual we have the notes.
The full agenda is viewable at: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/filepro/documents?expanded=543,79798&preview=89068
With Mayor Bentley absent for Council, Alderman Joanne Johnston took the reins as Deputy Mayor chairing the meeting. The agenda was light, but the energy perked up when the Public Works meeting minutes were put forward for approval.
Alderman Kadwell moved that the minutes be lifted to allow for discussion on the CoGen resolution. Once lifted, the discussion focused on the Public Works CoGen report: https://grimsby.civicweb.net/FileStorage/32E9C57FA13B41F693005EA190C7CA53-DPW17-48%20-%20TH%20Cogen-turbineOps_mnt.pdf
The CoGen is the over $1,000,000 “white elephant” taxpayer investment (2010) sitting on the Town lawn. The two turbines have only generated a small amount of power for a few months each year over the past few years (2015-16). Broken more than operational, the CoGen has no hope of generating the anticipated profits and no hope of paying for itself in the seven to 10 years originally envisioned. Read the original Niagara this Week press release here: https://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/3305400-grimsby-looks-at-turning-out-electricity/
And our previous posts here:
The straw that broke the turbines is another recent parts failure and anticipated repair cost for 2017 of $62,000 with $100,000 in anticipated operational and repair costs for 2018. Considering the annual hydro benefit to the Town for operating only two months of the year (since 2015) is $14,000, it defies logic as to why it is still being repaired.
The Director of Public Works, Mr. LeRoux put forward a recommendation to repair the north turbine injectors at a cost of $7,000 with the proviso that “if it fails and the repair cost to restart it exceeds $5,000, then we shut down the Cogen station until future hydro rates and/or natural gas rates make the Cogen cost effective.”
DPW17-48 – Town Hall Cogen Station – Turbines, Operations and Maintenance. PW17-63 Moved by N. DiFlavio; Seconded by D. Kadwell; Resolved that the approval of Report DPW17-48 dated November 22, 2017, regarding Town Hall Cogen Station – Turbines, Operations and Maintenance, be received and that Public Works Committee recommends to Council that the Director’s recommendation contained herein be approved.
Both Alderman Seaborn and DiFlavio felt that the CoGen should be given one last chance, with Alderman DiFlavio stating that this would be the “last straw” and “only a little will be spent”, considering the amount already invested in the project and that the resolution “does indicate that there is an end to it”.
Alderman Kadwell did not support spending more and put forward a motion to defer approving the Public Works minutes, and this resolution, to the next Council meeting considering that four Council members were absent (Mayor Bentley, Aldermen Berry, Dunstall and Mullins). The motion was defeated and the Public Works minutes passed with the resolution to accept the Director’s recommendation to repair the north turbine injectors.
Town of Port Colborne Correspondence – call to Province to appoint a Supervisor to take over NPCA
“THEREFORE THE COUNCIL OF THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF PORT COLBORNE RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS: THAT the City of Port Colborne respectfully requests the Premier of Ontario to immediately appoint a Supervisor to take over the operations of the NPCA; and THAT if said Supervisor is not appointed within sixty days, the board be dissolved and be replaced by directors appointed by the members of the lower tier municipalities, based on skill set, not politics or political ties, and that Niagara Region develop the process with stakeholders, to be in place after 2018 Municipal Election.”
This letter from the Town of Port Colborne generated some discussion. Alderman Kadwell asked Regional Councillor Tony Quirk if he could provide comment. Councillor Quirk stated that there is “a lot of political motivation behind the attacks”, that “the employees have unionized” and that “Forster (MPP Cindy Forster) doesn’t like NPCA.”
The Welland Tribune captures her speech in the legislature here: http://www.wellandtribune.ca/2017/09/15/forster-slams-npca-at-legislative-assembly
Also, Ed Smith’s recent battle regarding the NPCA is detailed in our previous post here: http://www.grimsbycitizens.com/2017/11/28/niagara-peninsula-conservation-authority-v-smith-case-dismissed/
Councillor Quirk also noted that appointing a supervisor cannot happen as they put forth in the letter. It would require two of the three upper tier municipalities to support dissolving the NPCA.
Alderman Kadwell then asked for an update on the auditor’s report of the NPCA. Councillor Quirk noted that they had recently met with Auditor General and received the engagement letter. The hope is that the audit would be completed before June but the timing is dependent on the AG who sets her own scope.
Depending on how fast the AG works on producing a final report on the audit, it could prove to make for an interesting Municipal Election next October.