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City's director of planning says gasification plant will require zoning change

The Hamilton Port Authority now has permission to create separate industrial lots on Pier 15 but the city says any proposed garbage to energy endeavour on the pier still would need to gain city approval.
The proposed gasification plant would be on a site of leased land on Pier 15 on the Hamilton waterfront. (Courtesy of Port Fuels and Materials Services Inc.)

The Hamilton Port Authority now has permission to create separate industrial lots on Pier 15, but the city says any garbage to energy facility on the pier still would need to gain city approval. 

The HPA was successful in Thursday's application to the committee of adjustment to split Pier 15 into six separate parcels of land. It's a small step forward in the plans by the HPA and Port Fuels and Materials Services to see the proposed gasification plant built on port lands.

But if the city wasn't previously clear about its intentions to force the company to make an application for zoning change, the director of planning has drawn a line in the sand.

"A private energy from waste facility is not a permitted use based on current zoning," said Steve Robichaud, director of the city's planning division. 

But the company proposing the plans appears to feel otherwise.

Previously, Port Fuels CEO Bob Clark was asked if their company would be making any city applications, which he replied in late August, "I am not sure this is required."

Thursday's committee of adjustment application signalled the HPA did need to go through the city for at least some issues before putting a waste-to-energy plant on Hamilton's harbour.

The meeting did not concern any zoning issues, and mostly drew the public's attention for a more than decade-old promise to repair the ecologically damaged Sherman Inlet, an environmental refuge just south of Randle Reef. The HPA's 2002 land use plan indicated it planned to fix it and return to the city, according to Environment Hamilton.

Environment Hamilton director Lynda Lukasik said Thursday's meeting at committee of adjustment featured a reiteration of that promise, a decade later, but without any details on when and how.

"We want a firm commitment, when is it going to happen?" Lukasik said of the Sherman Inlet project. 

The HPA said Wednesday evening it was proceeding with a provincial environmental screening process for the gasification plant.

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