Jason Leach wrote the following open letter to City Council about the Liberty Energy proposal:
I am writing to offer some concerns about the Liberty Energy (and possible second, city-owned plant) waste project proposed for Hamilton.
My expertise is not in sludge to energy projects or its technology so I'll save that for those more knowledgeable than I. I know Europe has some fantastic plants doing great, clean work, but as we all know North America isn't Europe. Companies here are generally allowed to do far much more corner-cutting and spew out more pollution due to lax regulations. Hamiltonians are no stranger to this.
My concern, and reason for writing, is about the truck traffic that will ship in waste from other cities. I have been engaged in local politics for many years and am far beyond the point of trusting anyone who says "the trucks will only use the QEW and Burlington St". I've heard it over and over, and yet when it comes time to address heavy truck routes blasting through residential neighbourhoods such as mine, the status quo trumps livability, safety and neighbourhood repair in Hamilton.
It's unfathomable that in the 21st Century, surrounded by freeways, we still have heavy trucks being encouraged to use Cannon, York, Wilson, Queen, Main, and other downtown streets.
As a taxpaying downtown resident who is involved in my community and has invested in the community, I must voice my opposition to this plan, simply based on the new truck trips coming into the city. I have friends who are transport drivers and they say they would never consider shortcutting through Toronto or Ottawa, but in Hamilton "you guys have those timed lights and wide one-way streets so it's easy".
Former mayors spoke loud and brash about how we would eliminate trucking routes through downtown Hamilton once the Red Hill link was completed. I didn't believe them then, and the recent truck route study proved my distrust.
As long as those truck routes are up along the aforementioned streets, any 'promise' from city hall to ensure that the sludge trucks will only come in via the QEW is an empty promise. It can't be enforced, and we all know that.
Thousands of kids and families like mine live with the blight of massive transports flying down our streets everyday. I've followed many of them over the years and most go to the NE industrial district (I live at York and Locke). Heck, some even go from the Steelcare plant on Aberdeen to the Steelcare plant on Eastport Drive through the city. I've timed that trip and the 403-QEW is just as fast, if not faster.
I'm optimistic that one of these years Hamilton will remove this single biggest obstacle to safety and livability in our downtown/lower city neighbourhoods, but until then, I must oppose any plan that will add to the misery we live with every day.
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