Concerns are being raised about Canadian Tire’s plan to include the production of hydrogen gas at their new distribution centre in Bolton.

Councillor Annette Groves says people in her ward are worried about the change to the site plan for the 1.5 million square foot facility. Groves says there’s been no public consultation regarding hydrogen production in three years.

The distribution centre received a provincial zoning order in 2013.

“We went through this process a few years ago when it was very quite hidden from the community and now we are going through the same thing again,” says Groves. “They have promised that they would be open and transparent and we haven't seen that so far.”

Canadian Tire is already operating a hydrogen production system in its Brampton Centre. The company says it's had positive consultations with all relevant parties, including fire departments and industry experts.

According to a company spokesperson, the hydrogen will be used to replace lead acid batteries in its heavy equipment that will operate inside its distribution centre.

Making hydrogen on location will reduce the need for on-site storage. It'll also reduce truck traffic and emissions. 

Town officials point out it's up to the Technical Safety and Standards Authority to ensure the hydrogen is handled safely. They plan to launch an education campaign to answer any questions the public might have.

“We will also make it available at the libraries,” says Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson. “People can go in online 24/7 to find out and learn and educate themselves about hydrogen fuel.”

The facility is expected to be operational sometime next year.

Hydrogen production at Canadian Tire distribution centre in Bolton raising concerns