Dozens at­tend water­front protest, de­mand halt to tank con­struc­tion

Seaway News - - NEWS - Todd Li­hou

CORN­WALL, On­tario - Dozens of peo­ple gath­ered on Har­bour Road in Corn­wall to protest the con­struc­tion of a pair of chem­i­cal tanks that have cre­ated a storm of crit­i­cism.

City of­fi­cials, res­i­dents and busi­ness peo­ple were among the 75 who stood in the snow and con­demned the plan to build a pair of cal­cium chlo­ride tanks on the water­front.

The new tanks will be used by Tril­lium Dis­tri­bu­tion to store cal­cium chlo­ride, a chem­i­cal used to melt ice, and act as a dust sup­pres­sor on roads and high­ways.

The lease agree­ment be­tween Tril­lium and Trans­port Canada, which owns the prop­erty, has sparked out­rage among many who ar­gue res­i­dents were not con­sulted on the move.

City hall was like­wise shut out of dis­cus­sions.

“That thing has got to stop - pe­riod,” said Chuck Charlebois, as he ges­tured to crews who con­tin­ued to build the tanks dur­ing Mon­day’s protest. “It doesn’t make sense when ev­ery­one else in the world is de­vel­op­ing their water­front for res­i­den­tial use and other pos­i­tive things.”

But MP Guy Lau­zon, who at­tended the protest and spoke with lo­cal of­fi­cials, while also tour­ing the con­struc­tion site, said it’s not likely the work can be stopped.

“I can un­der­stand the con­cern of the lo­cal res­i­dents,” said Lau­zon, who said he found out about the work Dec. 5. “I’m not sure that it can be stopped. But I think it can be mit­i­gated.

“Let’s do what’s right. The right thing to do due re­spect to the water­front and the res­i­dents of Corn­wall, but also pay due re­spect to the per­son who, in good faith, en­tered into that lease.”

That sen­ti­ment might not wash well with those who fought to get an oil tank farm re­moved from the prop­erty years ago, only to see it re­placed with two other tanks.

Bob Pelda, pres­i­dent of RMP De­vel­op­ment which has spent mil­lions of dol­lars ren­o­vat­ing the old cot­ton mill dis­trict ad­ja­cent to the tank prop­erty, ex­pressed frus­tra­tion at the move.

“I was shocked,” he said. “We’ve come a long way in our plan­ning and spent close to $3.5 mil­lion on the next de­vel­op­ment.

“(Trans­port Canada) has ig­nored the wishes of the 25 years of plan­ning that have gone into place here. And the en­vi­ron­men­tal cleanup that has oc­curred - are we just go­ing to ig­nore ev­ery­thing that has hap­pened in the past and just do what­ever they would like to?”

The tanks are ex­pected to be largely un­der­ground, though they will still be vis­i­ble.

The agree­ment be­tween Trans­port Canada and Tril­lium Dis­tri­bu­tion was signed this fall.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Tril­lium have re­fused to com­ment on this story.

Kevin Hargreaves, pres­i­dent of the Corn­wall Cham­ber of Com­merce which spear­headed Mon­day’s protest, said res­i­dents are fed up.

“There’s been a lot of work that has gone on over the years to im­prove the water­front,” he said. “This will def­i­nitely take away from those plans.”


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