Plasco mulls smaller plant as financing deadline approaches

The new chair of Ottawa's environment committee says the city will need to move quickly if Plasco fails to meet its latest financing deadline because the city doesn't have a plan B.

'Right now, I need proof very soon ... if [Plasco is] going to work,' environment committee chair says

Plasco has informed the city it's looking at building a smaller plant than originally planned. 3:07

The new chair of Ottawa's environment committee says the city will need to move quickly if Plasco fails to meet its latest financing deadline because the city doesn't have a plan B.

Coun. David Chernushenko, the new chair of the city's environment committee, says he and council need proof "very soon" that Plasco can deliver on its promises. (CBC)

The waste-to-energy company has until Dec. 31 to raise enough money to build a full-scale plant.

Plasco has missed financing deadlines twice before and each time the city granted an extension.

Now, with less than three weeks before the latest deadline is set to expire, Plasco has informed the city it's looking at building a smaller plant than originally planned.

Duncan Bury, a waste management consultant who helped set up Ottawa's blue box program, said the city should cut its losses and that the technology was never a good idea.

"If the city had looked at some of the evidence, if they'd done the proper due diligence ... they would have found that out. Nobody has done plasma gasification for mixed municipal solid waste," Bury said.

'Let's move on,' waste expert suggests

Duncan Bury, a waste management consultant, says the city should cut its losses and cut ties with Plasco. (CBC)

"I think that was evident, and should have been evident to the city from the outset. But here we are, eight or so year later, and finally I think we're at the penultimate moment where we need to say this doesn't work, let's move on."

As for what to do if Plasco should fail, Coun. David Chernushenko, the new chair of the environment committee, said he wants to avoid building a new landfill.

"It would have to be a technological solution, likely some form of energy from waste solution. There are many. Plasco was one of them, and we would need to move very rapidly to exploring what others are out there," he said.

"Right now, I need proof very soon, like all of council does, if [Plasco is] going to work. If it's not, we have to go immediately into an exploration of ... what other technologies or approaches are out there."

A Plasco spokesperson declined to provide an update to CBC News Thursday, saying only that talks with the city are ongoing.