The tanks are likely here to stay

Seaway News - - OPINION - Claude McIn­tosh Mac’s Mus­ings

A few years ago the god­fa­ther of the am­bi­tious Cot­ton Mill re­de­vel­op­ment project was singing praises for the re­moval of ugly oil stor­age tanks on a large chunk of fed­eral gov­ern­ment water­front prop­erty; it was her­alded as a great leap for­ward in the re­ju­ve­na­tion of the long ne­glected de­funct fac­tory re­gion of the city.

On Mon­day, while sur­vey­ing the steel work be­ing erected on the same piece of prop­erty, Chuck Charlebois was singing from a dif­fer­ent song book.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Charlebois told a bevy of pro­test­ers. “It has to stop.”

The feds have leased the prop­erty to a com­pany that is in the process of build­ing what is be­lieved to be a stor­age fa­cil­ity for a liq­uid used to melt ice on roads in the win­ter and con­trol dust in the sum­mer.

Since the feds aren’t re­quired to en­gage in the pa­per work - per­mits, site plan, etc. - that is nor­mally re­quired for such projects when the un­washed are in­volved, city hall was kept in the dark.

It wasn’t un­til last week when Se­away News ed­i­tor Todd Li­hou broke the story, af­ter get­ting a tip, and tracked down the com­pany that has leased the prop­erty, that the project be­came pub­lic in­for­ma­tion.

MP Guy Lau­zon was just as sur­prised as ev­ery­one else when he first heard of the project last week. He needs to be ask­ing some ques­tions over at Trans­port Canada.

The feds haven’t bro­ken any rules or laws but one has to won­der why, know­ing the res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment plans for the area, the city wasn’t con­sulted. The feds seem to have taken an ar­ro­gant “It’s our prop­erty and we’ll do what we want with it” at­ti­tude.

On the other hand, one has to won­der if the city ever dis­cussed the prop­erty and fu­ture uses with the feds. A for­mer city coun­cil­lor claims that the is­sue was raised in a closed meet­ing years ago. The feds of­fered the city a stake in the prop­erty for $1 with the con­di­tion that en­ter into an agree­ment with Ak­we­sasne. Coun­cil, he said, re­jected the part­ner­ship pro­posal.

In Johnny- come- lately fash­ion, coun­cil Mon­day night ex­pe­dited a by­law aimed at try­ing to nix the project. It might be too late for the city to try and take steps to force the project to cease with­out invit­ing costly lit­i­ga­tion that it would not have much chance of win­ning. Mean­while, the com­pany has ev­ery le­gal right to con­tinue build­ing the project. If the project does stop, no doubt the com­pany will want to be com­pen­sated for the money it has spent. One thing should be clear: No way should lo­cal tax­pay­ers be put on the hook.

For city hall, this is a clas­sic case of try­ing to shut the barn door af­ter the horse gets out.

THE REAR- VIEW MIR­ROR Back be­fore po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness took hold of the pub­lic school sys­tem, the Corn­wall Col­le­giate Christ­mas Christ­mas con­cert in the school au­di­to­rium with the love­able head cus­to­dian Al­fie Tabram Sr. play­ing Santa. ... Loud speak­ers out­side some of the down­town stores blast­ing out Christ­mas mu­sic at this time of year. ... The Andy Wil­liams, Lawrence Welk, Perry Como (one fea­tured Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and seven of their chil­dren), Ten­nessee Ernie Wil­liams and Bob Hope Christ­mas spe­cials watched on a black and white 21- inch Philco tele­vi­sion. Hope was at his best in the spe­cials from Viet­nam. In 1967 the cur­va­ceous bomb­shell Raquel Welch, re­splen­dent in white boots, sweater and mini skirt, was part of the tour of 21 bases. ... Bing Crosby singing his sig­na­ture Christ­mas tune, “White Christ­mas. ... The Amos and Andy Christ­mas show on ra­dio. ... The Lucky Strike “Your Hit Pa­rade” Christ­mas Eve spe­cial. ... The an­nual Howard Smith Pa­per Mill chil­dren’s Chist­mas party at Corn­wall Ar­moury and a thou­sand ex­cited kids singing “Here Comes Santa Claus” as the big steel door rolled up and Old St. Nick ar­rived rid­ing in the back of a con­vert­ible. ... Santa Claus read­ing let­ters to the North Pole from Corn­wall and area kids on CKSF ra­dio. I think WMSA in Massena still car­ries on with the tra­di­tion. ... The Christ­mas Day fam­ily movie at the Capi­tol The­atre. There were four show­ings start­ing at 1 p.m.

TRIVIA AN­SWER In 1942 the Depart­ment of Mu­ni­tions and Sup­ply ex­pro­pri­ated parts of three farms west of the city (Cum­ber­land Street), a to­tal of 318 acres. By the end of 1943 a war­time chem­i­cal plant was up and run­ning. The fa­cil­ity housed 50 build­ings sur­rounded by a fenced topped with barbed wire and armed guards stand­ing watch. The plant, which em­ployed 300, was called Stor­mont Chem­i­cals and one of the deadly chem­i­cals it pro­duced and stored was mus­tard gas. By the end of the war, 2,000 gal­lons of the nerve agent were in stor­age. The gov­ern­ment packed it up in steel bar­rels and shipped it out to sea where it was dumped.

TRIVIA In the early 1900s Corn­wall had a brew­ery called St. Lawrence Brew­eries Ltd. that sold “Corn­wall Ale” coast to coast. Where was the plant?

HERE & THERE A Corn­wall na­tive and grad­u­ate of La Ci­tadelle high school is chief of Kingston Po­lice Ser­vice. Gilles Larochelle, who has been on the KPS job since June, spent 33 years with the Ottawa po­lice force, climb­ing up the ranks to deputy chief. ... Brockville Po­lice Ser­vices Board has tapped one of its own to move into the chief’s of­fice on Jan. 1. Insp. Scott Fraser, who has 15 years ser­vice with the Brockville force, will serve as in­terim chief un­til May 31, when the out­go­ing chief’s con­tract runs out. The chief is on paid leave of his con­tract for what is called time ow­ing. Wow, the guy must have been a worka­holic. That works out to around 800 hours of “over­time”. ... Corn­wall hasn’t had a chief from its own ranks since Earl Landry was chief from 1974-82. Cur­rent Deputy Chief Danny Aikman is the first dep to come up through the ranks since who knows when. ... Stop the press. Break out the Ar­maged­don fonts. An ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion has uncovered some­body (a cus­to­dian) work­ing at Hy­dro One and On­tario Power Gen­er­a­ton head­quar­ters who will miss mak­ing the On­tario Sun­shine list of $ 100,000- plus in­come earn­ers for 2013. ... Why do we pass by­laws when we can’t en­force the ones that are on the books?

SPORTS STUFF One word for the 2013 Grey Cup: Bor­ing! ... The Farmer’s Almanac is call­ing for a snow­storm in the New York area the first week of Fe­bru­ary. This is of in­ter­est be­cause Su­per Bowl XLV III will be played at the MetLife Sta­dium in New Jersey on Feb. 2. It is an open-air sta­dium. No roof. ... Ac­cord­ing to the MetLife Sta­dium web­site, as of Mon­day there are still some Su­per Bowl tick­ets avail­able, but they don’t come with tra­di­tional stock­ing stuffer prices. Up­per level end zone and cor­ner seats, up where the pi­geons roost, are go­ing for $2,350 each. Those up-close and per­sonal seats at mid­field start at $ 9,466. Plus tax, of course. ... Andy Petepiece and Mike Heenan did a great job with Jock­fest III gath­er­ing last Wed­nes­day at the Navy Club. Good turnout of old sweats in­clud­ing out- of- town­ers Jean Payette, Barry Doyle, Rod Mar­shall, Jimmy MacPhee, Ge­orge Ry­lands and Pat Rowe. Freshly minted CFL Hall of Famer Moe “The Toe” Racine got a stand­ing “O”. ... If NHL play­ers get a flu shot why do teams have the flu bug sweep­ing through NHL dress­ing rooms dur­ing the sea­son?

ONE LAST THING Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nurs­ing home.

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