The Town of Oakville has approved the new Health Protection Air Quality bylaw putting polluting industries on notice. Oakville is the first Ontario jurisdiction to regulate pollutants like the ones noted in this bylaw.
Under the new rules, the Town can reject new industries coming to our community. It also allows the Town to deem existing industries and facilities “public nuisances’ and refuse them approval to continue operating unless they cut emissions.
Although many applaud this bylaw the final version was amended after a meeting last month.
The approved bylaw now requires all facilities that emit fine particulate matter (airborne particles less than 2.5 microns in size) or other pollutants, to make a one-time report of emission levels to the Town. Additional reporting will only be required if there are changes to emissions.
If a facility is deemed a major emitter, they will be required to go through a $25,000 Town approval process. This review will look at the emissions and assess public health risks.
Existing facilities agreeing to develop a 5-year plan leading to a 25% reduction will be given approval to continue operating. Those not agreeing will need to convince the Town council to allow them continue operating.
It is estimated that between 10-15% of the community’s facilities will be classified as major emitters. Facilities include institutions, corporations, and large apartment buildings. If they currently operate under the provincial Certificate of Approval (CofA) for air quality, they have 6 months to report. Others will not have to report for the first year of the bylaw.
Supporters of the new bylaw include Oakvillegreen, C4CA (Citizens for Clean Air), and two local resident groups. John Sawyer, president of Oakville Chamber of Commerce, however, does not believe the Town should be doing the regulation.
Many also hope this new bylaw will help in the fight against the TransCanada proposed gas-fired power plant coming to Oakville.
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