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Hamilton votes: McHattie takes aggressive stance against gasification plant

Mayoral candidate Brian McHattie has come out swinging against a proposed gasification plant on Hamilton’s waterfront.
Mayoral candidate Brian McHattie walks in to a Toronto courtroom with Hamilton steel workers Monday before U.S. steel attempts to make its case for permission to accept $185 million from the American parent company to operate its Hamilton and Lake Erie operations until they can be sold off. McHattie has taken a more aggressive campaign approach of late, saying a proposed gasification plant would make Hamilton "the waste treatment capital of the Golden Horseshoe." ( Ryan Ladner)

Mayoral candidate Brian McHattie has come out swinging against a proposed gasification plant on Hamilton’s waterfront.

McHattie, who is running against Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark and former mayor Fred Eisenberger, has issued a media release denouncing a proposed waste treatment plant in Ward 3.

In it, he takes aim at former mayor and Eisenberger supporter Larry DiIanni, and the proposed plant on Pier 15, planned by the U.S.-based Leveraged Green Technologies (LGT).

“While I want jobs, I will never put the addition of a few dozen jobs over the health of our residents and of their families. Never,” McHattie said.

“We need to raise the bar on the types of industries we welcome to our city and we also need to work with our provincial partners to get touch on polluters in our community.”

LGT proposes a 20-year lease for a waste-to-energy plant on Port Authority lands. It would create 30 to 50 jobs. The project requires numerous federal and provincial approvals, but LGT still hasn’t acknowledged that it requires zoning approval from the city.

The plant would use gas plasma technology with extremely high temperatures to break down waste into its atomic elements and turn it into a gas that can be used in engines and turbines, or as a substitute for natural gas.

LGT has “no experience building a facility of this size,” McHattie said.

He also hasn’t been assured that the plant would only take waste from within Hamilton, he said.

“I don’t want Hamilton to become known as the waste treatment capital of the Golden Horseshoe, which is effectively what this plant would do. Look, I’m all for using new technologies to deal with environmental issues, but I don’t want those same technologies to add to a problem we still haven’t fixed.”

Hamilton’s mayoral candidates answered a question about the waste treatment facility at a Ward 3 debate last week. Eisenberger said it would have to use clean technology. If it did, it might have a positive environmental impact by diverting waste from landfill.

Clark said the city has no authority over the project other than the zoning, which LGT could challenge at the Ontario Municipal Board anyway.

McHattie pointed out that DiIanni has been part of LGT’s “own public relations” as a paid lobbyist. DiIanni has endorsed Eisenberger.

“It’s hard to know how that plays out in terms of positions that Fred takes or what influence Larry has,” he said. “But it’s a fact and I want people to know.”

CBC Hamilton is pursuing comment from Clark and Eisenberger.

McHattie has taken a more aggressive stance in the campaign in recent days, eager to differentiate himself after an earlier poll showed him trailing behind Eisenberger and Clark. He’s also sunk campaign resources into billboards, particularly in east Hamilton and on the Mountain.

All three candidates will participate in a Ward 2 debate hosted by the Durand Neighbourhood Association Monday night. The event will also include Ward 2 council candidates and school board trustees. The event starts at 7 p.m. in the YWCA auditorium. CBC Hamilton will attend and reporter Samantha Craggs will tweet at @SamCraggsCBC.

Candidate media releases:

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