THE VIEW FROM OAK PARK
The Official Krisztina Blogsite
Monday is Family Day here in Ontario and the day off will be marked by families out skating and skiing and possibly even biking!! Families are the essence of Oakville’s growth which brings me to the unfortunate building of the massive 900 Mega-watt natural gas plant by the Ford plant approved last September. I lend my voice to the near unanimous group of Oakville residents who believe the plant should be located in a less densely populated area, and specifically away from an area of the GTA already suffering poor air quality. It’s 380 yards from a school. It’s beside a railroad track where we worry about train derailments. It’s close to a hospital. The Power Authority expects the plant to run 40% of the time – when electricity demand is high, and to be operational by the end of 2013. The die has been cast and I believe this plant will be built despite ongoing legal gestures. It’s a bit disheartening in light of the February 7 Connecticut Power Plant explosion that killed 5 workers and injured dozens more. Employer negligence may have been involved in the blast of the 620 Mega-watt Kleen Energy Power Plant under construction in Middletown Connecticut. The force of the blast blew out windows and shattered the foundations of nearby houses. The plant, designed to burn natural gas, is one of the largest to be built in New England in recent years and was nearing completion, set to go online as early as June of this year. Workers had been complaining about grueling hours – 12 to 13 hour work days, 7 days a week – in a push to get the project finished. The accident happened during the procedure of using natural gas to purge the system’s pipes to remove air. (Workers had expressed concerns of a gas smell an hour before the explosion and were told to open the doors for ventilation!!) This procedure has been blamed for at least 7 major explosions in the United States since 1997 according to federal documents. In an odd twist, just 3 days before the fatal blast, the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued an urgent recommendation for tougher safety codes governing the practice. It criticized current codes for strongly recommending, but not requiring, that gas lines being purged be vented outside. Nor do they explicitly require the evacuation of all non-essential personnel during the process or the use of gas detectors.
My hope is that Ontario has tougher codes in place, and that Oakville, in return for the $1 million in taxes it will receive annually, will do its part to ensure on behalf of all Oakville residents, that such codes are being stringently met. After all, we know that accidents can happen, and there can be horrible repercussions. That’s why kids have to wear bike helmets, and ski helmets, and hockey helmets. That’s why we have house insurance and car insurance and seat belt laws. So, in closing, to all Oakville families – have a great Family Day, but most importantly, stay safe in all your Family Day activities!!
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