It's getting tiresome reminding people that Lake Ontario is awesome. It's important. It's precious. We need it. It's getting disheartening volleying back dumb proposal after dumb proposal in the hopes that, at the very least, we can keep environmental conditions on Lake Ontario from getting any worse.
Every few years, the FarmTech ethanol proposal rears its ugly head. It's an ethanol plant with a capacity of 210-million litres per year. The company - FarmTech - with the support of the Oshawa Harbour Commission wants to put the plant in one of the worst places they could have found: smack dab on top of Gifford Hill in Oshawa.
Gifford Hill is a great hill. It's iconic, being the only natural space left that you can view from the Oshawa waterfront. It's important, being a buffer between the industrial harbour and the largest coastal wetland in this part of Lake Ontario (Second Marsh). It's also historic, having been a French trading post and an agricultural settlement.
Gifford Hill is the kind of hill that most towns or cities hang onto, the kind of place you'd expect to see etched on a penny or illustrated on an old-timey stamp. It's also rare in a city like Oshawa, known for its sprawling General Motors complex to the west and the Ontario Power Generation buildings to the east.
Gifford Hill is not the kind of place where you put a large industrial complex, not if you actually want to do something good for the community. It's a cynical project proposal that makes a grab for the "cheapest" land in town at the expense of the greatest number of citizens possible. There are plenty of other places in the area that could house such a facility without threatening the waterfront ... it's just that FarmTech doesn't want to pay for the real cost of bringing its project to life.
We wrote a thorough analysis of the project back in 2008. Nothing's changed since then.
Meanwhile, it's getting tiresome saying the same things over and over and over: Jeopardizing Second Marsh is a bad idea. Protecting the watershed that houses half of the people in Ontario is a good idea. We are never going to live in communities where you can touch the water safely, drink it, and eat the fish from it if we do not start drawing the line somewhere. Gifford Hill is a good place to start.