LIUNA strike, hot weather slows LGS clean up

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It will be at least 2023 before the clean up at the Lambton Generating Station in Courtright is complete.

It will be at least 2023 before the steel remnants of the Lambton Generating Station in Courtright are gone.

The coal-fired generating plant which once employed hundreds of people generating nearly 2,000 MW of power was downsized in 2010 and then closed in 2013 as part of the then Liberal government’s plan to phase out coal for generation to improve air quality.

The work to tear down the massive complex along the St. Clair River before the pandemic. But in 2020, JNX Contracting declared bankruptcy and the demolition stopped.

Delsan A.I.M. took over and expected to have the work completed by the end of this year. OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly says it will now likely be complete in “early 2023.”

Kelly says a number of things, including a strike by LIUNA earlier this year, slowed the progress of the demolition.

“We had some hot summer days where Delson A.I.M. staff would have been sent home early, so that cost us some time.

Kelly says work is ongoing at the site. Large piles of steel can be seen across the yard. The contractor is shipping that out by rail – the revenue from them going to Delsan as payment for the work.

And he says the next phase will be bringing down two absorber units – which is dependent on good weather.

“We’re in the process of getting ready to bring down the absorbers…That is wind dependent, weather dependent, you need precise wind directions and wind speed to bring them down,” Kelly says.

“The absorber buildings are the bare right now they’re constructed a steel and concrete, there’s no hazardous materials, but due to the close proximity to the Hydro One, switchyard – that is an active switchyard – so we can’t have any damage on the switchyard.”

Kelly expects it will take until the end of 2023 for the land along the St. Clair to be declared a brownfield site. It’s only then will OPG start considering what will be done with the land.

“It’s an important site for Ontario Power Generation. So we will retain ownership of the lands and we’re not sure what will go on the lands,” he says. “We’ll take our time and we will, in some form at some point, come forward with the plan.”

St. Clair Township officials in the past had expressed some interest in seeing the land become housing in the future.