By GREG McMILLAN
IT SAYS here that Brantford councillors should step back and look at the big picture before making a final vote on whether to bring in a company from the Netherlands to take part in a pilot project cleanup of some contaminated soil at the Greenwich-Mohawk brownfield.
There have been numerous negative comments, both online and elsewhere, about the city getting involved in this endeavour – and certain councillors have also wondered about its viability – but there are definite advantages to giving it the green light.
To recap, Groundwater Technologies from the Netherlands wants to partner with the city to demonstrate how its ‘soil-washing’ technique injects steam into the soil and then vacuums the liquid and contaminants for above-ground treatment.
The Dutch firm would partially fund the initiative, with the city responsible for anywhere from $16,000 to (worst-case scenario) $145,839 – with all monies coming out of the $5 million reserve account for the Greenwich-Mohawk project.
The deal became one step closer to fruition last week with a recorded 6-2 vote, in favour, at the committee level. It still needs the stamp of approval from council, however, and that could come as soon as Monday.
In no particular order, then, here are reasons why this decision should be a no-brainer:
- Ward 5 Coun. Marguerite Ceschi Smith has been actively representing the city for years at brownfield sessions well beyond the city’s boundaries. She has made connections and she has brokered this arrangement with an international company that is looking to showcase it services in Canada. This is a practical application resulting from her efforts;
- Remember, this is only a pilot project, and there is no long-term commitment that has to be made;
- The positive public relations this will generate can be considerable. Already, the internet has picked up on news stories. Go to Google. Do a search. It’s just the start. If this deal pans out, the eyes of the world, literally, will be on Brantford. The city will be seen as a leader, as a community willing to embrace new ideas in the environmental arena. How can that be a bad thing?
- At the end of the day, this project may lead to more cooperation, more cleanup work. Then again, it may not. It certainly won’t hurt to test the waters.
AROUND THE GREEN HUB
Solar companies in The Green Hub find themselves in a holding pattern, mostly, as they await the outcome of the Ontario feed-in tariff (FIT) program review.
It’s understandably difficult to take on new business at the moment because the review is looking at things such as revised pricing and rules for FIT contracts. Although new FIT applications will continue to be accepted and time-stamped, according to the Ontario Power Authority, they will not be processed until the after the review is finished, which could be as early as this week.
Ken Burns, of Solar Team, says his company has completed all installations that were in the works prior to the recent municipal election and is now waiting for news.
“The people of Ontario need and deserve certainty in this program,” said Burns. “Small business simply cannot survive the kind of continued uncertainty and senseless bottlenecks like we have experienced since 2009.
“Getting into an emerging industry, everyone expected unforeseen challenges, and that the initial implementation of the program would be bumpy. But we also expected that with a strong commitment to make it work, any problems could be overcome in a reasonable period of time. But that has not been the case.”
Each and every solar operation in The Green Hub is in the same boat. For them, these are uncertain, and stressful, times.
Greg McMillan is a partner at TheGreenHub.ca – a green news and information web portal. Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any tips or suggestions for topics to be covered in the Green Matters column, which also appears each Saturday in the Brantford Expositor. That could mean green lifestyle, business or human-interest items, including any personal or school-related projects or initiatives. We’ll write about people who live in The Green Hub area, which includes Brantford, Six Nations, Brant, Norfolk and Haldimand counties. Also, follow us on Twitter / the_green_hub and TheHubMan or Facebook / thegreenhub
Green Matters Archives:
Green Matters: Debut of new weekly newspaper column features stories about the new green and and new frugality.
Heating and cooling challenge: How the straw didn’t break the back of A&R Heating & Cooling, of Scotland, Ontario.