It is possible to fight City Hall and win. And, although they certainly weren’t the first, No Burn Niagara did it well. My hat is off to them.
When they heard about Thorold City Council giving the garbage incinerator proponents the go-ahead to start the application process for the site on Allanport Road, No Burn got an organization together and mobilized. And then they built up support.
They organized two citizen meetings, one at the Allanburg Community Centre and the other at the Port Robinson Community Centre. I attended the second and was impressed by how well they kept control of the meeting.
They could have called the powers that be a bunch of liars. Everybody at City Hall – and the proponents – said it wasn’t an approval, although the document they passed says, “Council of the Corporation of the City of Thorold supports the construction and operation of the Project on the Lands.” There is a clause stating that it can’t be used for anything except the approval, but what do you make of the statement? However, No Burn kept it civil and made sure that the attendees did as well.
They could have done a lot of things but, throughout the Thorold campaign, they kept their presentations to the facts: the track records of others, alternatives, the dangers.
And Council listened. We have to give them that as well, because they listened, realized they’d been rushed into a bad decision and then admitted their mistake. Councillors did their homework, particularly Councillor Paone who originally abstained from the initial vote and used his specialty to come up with emission questions that left the proponents’ representative sweating as he stumbled through his lack of answers.
And, in the end, Council voted unanimously to rescind the order. Now let’s hope that ISO listens.
Once again, hats off to No Burn Niagara, led by Liz Benneian, for a clean and effective campaign. Now the Region (a whole other story).