|Green Lane Landfill courtesy of City of Toronto|
We’ve known about this for some years now. The Green Lane site in Southwold Township will allow the City of Toronto to make fewer and shorter trips down the 401 to dump its non-recyclables and non-compostables. On the downside, it’s close to London and the mayor feels that its presence is a “black eye” for our fair city.
To deal with the negative optics of this, Fontana speculated in an interview with the London Free Press that “(We) could turn it into a joint effort on renewable energy. Turn it into a positive.”
But is that really the motivation for the proposal to collaborate with Toronto to develop an “energy from waste” project at the site?
Fontana is not a stranger to the “energy from waste” business. In fact, he acknowledged that he sits on a board of such a business, noting that he is too busy to continue in that position. What he didn’t mention is that he is actually the chairman of the management team of GPEC Global Corp which has an address in Oakville.
How this company is structured and what it actually does is difficult to ascertain. Among its “core values” is the statement “We respect each person - our partners, suppliers and plant personnel.” Who those partners, suppliers and personnel are is not stated. Indeed, although the website claims that “[w]e build, own and operate WTE plants using proven technologies from leading equipment manufacturers around the world,” there is no evidence of an actual physical plant. It does, however, state that it “deploys cutting-edge gasification technology developed by KMW Systems Inc.”, a company whose corporate headquarters are located on Wilton Grove Road in London.
A partial document from the International Women’s Forum states that “GPEC is currently developing energy-from-waste projects in countries where conventional electricity generation is based on expensive fossil fuels and is seeking financing and/or operating partners to participate in specific projects” (emphasis added).
Is Fontana’s proposal one of these specific projects?
In which capacity was he floating this idea? As chairman of the management team of a private company or as mayor of London? Does he hold shares in the company? Is he a partner? Is there a conflict of interest?
And why would the city of London, having postponed its own $100,000 Green Bin Pilot Program which would have led to significant waste diversion from our own landfill, want to spend money it doesn’t have on a project outside of the city? The previous council has already committed millions of dollars to a regional Materials Recovery Facility that will bring actual jobs to London.
And why does a landfill outside of London constitute a “black eye”? Ask the residents of Brockley who live down wind of our own W12A and Orgaworld where they think our focus should be.
Something smells, but it may not be Toronto garbage.