FILE -- MPP Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay - Superior North)
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While two canceled gas plants in southern Ontario will cost the province upwards of $1 billion, Thunder Bay is still waiting to hear about the future of its local generating station.
Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said Wednesday he has been working with Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli and a decision should be coming soon.
"(Chiarelli) is spending a great deal of time making sure the best decision is made," said Gravelle, who is also the MPP for Thunder Bay - Superior North.
Gravelle added that he is aware of the future increased energy needs of the region in terms of the mining sector and the return of the forestry sector.
"We are going to meet those energy needs," he said. "The decision related to the Thunder Bay Generating Station is an important part of that discussion."
The decision to halt the conversion of the Thunder Bay plant from coal to natural gas came down last November.
A report released Tuesday from auditor general Bonnie Lysyk states that the cancellation of gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga will cost up to $1.1 billion; the Oakville plant specifically will cost at least $675 million.
The provincial government originally said it would cost $40 million.
Premier Kathleen Wynne ordered the report and Gravelle said she takes full responsibility and offered a full apology for the mistakes that were made.
"The premier has responded in a very clear and strong way that we'll be introducing new rules based on what the auditor general reported to make sure this never happens again," he said.
MPP Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) echoed Gravelle's comments that Wynne was intent on getting to the bottom of the gas plant cancellations to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Mauro is also waiting to hear on the Thunder Bay plant's future, which is something he said he's been working on for 10 years.
When the government committed to closing all five of Ontario's coal plants, Mauro said all three political parties committed to those plans.
"For 10 years, I have been fighting for the conversion and maintenance and sustainability of both of the coal plants in my riding," he said.
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath called out the Liberal government on the gas plant scandal and the unknown future of the Thunder Bay Generating Station during Question Period in the Legislature Wednesday.
"For $1 billion this government could have easily converted the Thunder Bay Generating Station to gas and would have had plenty of money left over," she said.
Mauro aired his frustration with the NDP saying the party had suddenly found religion on the issue.
"It's a bit difficult sometimes as somebody who's been working on this for 10 years to see somebody stand up in the legislature and try to take ownership of an issue when they have never once through three provincial elections committed to do anything about this," he said.
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