When bikelanes were proposed for Cosburn Ave, in the heart of Toronto Councillor Case Ootes‘s ward 29, the esteemed councillor was on it like white on rice. He was pretty concerned about a possible delay of up to a minute or two for those motorists trying to get through ward 29 in a hurry.
He would know. He’s one of them.
Now that Ontario Power Authority has made it clear a hydro corridor is to be carved north-south along some street like Donlands Avenue, a corridor to bring electricity from nuclear plants northeast of Toronto down to the new Portlands Emissions Centre, Case Ootes is strangely silent. Where is he? Where is his concern for property values, for possible health risks associated with electromagnetic fields, and for the blight on the landscape this scheme portends? Surely Case Ootes’s “conservative” values would be offended by a $600 million scheme that flouts the province’s and city’s “Green Plans” by encouraging ever-increasing electricity consumption?
Or is the problem for Ootes–and the problem for ward 29–that a majority of exactly 20 votes won him his office in the last election? Is the problem that a clear majority of voters actually picked someone other than Ootes, leaving the man bitter, galled and indifferent? Is the problem that the 20-vote “majority” came from the tony “Governor’s Bridge” section of ward 29, across the Don Valley to the west, where no OPA would ever dare propose something as terrible as a $600 million hydro corridor? Is the problem that Ootes himself lives well outside Ward 29, on a ravine lot north of Taylor Creek, where no hydro corridor will ever touch?
The term NIMBY is sure to be heard in this debate. But the fight against hydro corridors on Donlands or Pape or Jones Ave is not about NIMBYism. NIMBYs are hypocrites who pay lipservice to the greater good–something like social housing–only when it’s not in their “back yard.” In this debate, folks both support a greater good–energy conservation–and believe $600 million could be more wisely spent on programs to encourage it.
This debate, like the debate about bikelanes all across Toronto, is about the most troubling dilemma facing humanity in the 21st century: Climate Change, and our role in creating or slowing it.
Where is Case Ootes in this debate?