Ar­gyle coun­cil ap­proves fa­cil­ity de­vel­op­ment agree­ment

Coun­cil votes 5-4 in sup­port of pro­ject; res­i­dents re­main con­cerned about po­ten­tial prob­lems

Tri-County Vanguard - - NEWS - ERIC BOURQUE THEVANGUARD.CA

In what some coun­cil mem­bers said was a very tough de­ci­sion, the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Ar­gyle voted to sup­port a de­vel­op­ment agree­ment for a sea cu­cum­ber phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity in the Tus­ket busi­ness park.

The re­sult was tight – five coun­cil mem­bers vot­ing in sup­port of grant­ing the de­vel­op­ment agree­ment, four vot­ing against it.

Res­i­dents liv­ing near the pro­ject site have ex­pressed con­cern about the pro­posal, wor­ry­ing about its en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, and a good num­ber of them turned out for a spe­cial Ar­gyle coun­cil meet­ing where the pro­ject was dis­cussed.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic were given an op­por­tu­nity to speak dur­ing the first part of the Nov. 20 meet­ing. Those who spoke re­it­er­ated con­cerns about how the pro­posed fa­cil­ity could im­pact them, the big­gest is­sue be­ing a po­ten­tial foul odour.

Those who op­pose the pro­ject have said they are not against busi­ness or eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, but they feel this type of op­er­a­tion should be in an­other lo­ca­tion.

The Tus­ket busi­ness park is near a res­i­den­tial park that was de­vel­oped around 2009. There are seven fam­ily homes in the res­i­den­tial park.

The pro­ject’s de­vel­oper, Jules LeBlanc, pres­i­dent of Ocean Pride Fish­eries in Wedge­port, has said he is con­fi­dent the Tus­ket fa­cil­ity would not be a nui­sance.

He said he chose the Tus­ket site for sev­eral rea­sons, in­clud­ing the avail­abil­ity of wa­ter and sewer ser­vices, its prox­im­ity to a ma­jor high­way and the var­i­ous ameni­ties in the Tus­ket area. He also wanted the new busi­ness to be as Mem­bers of the pub­lic lis­ten to the dis­cus­sion dur­ing a spe­cial meet­ing of Ar­gyle mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil Tues­day, Nov. 20, in Tus­ket. The ses­sion ended with coun­cil vot­ing in favour of a de­vel­op­ment agree­ment for a sea cu­cum­ber phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity in the Tus­ket busi­ness park.

close to home as pos­si­ble.

The pro­ject is ex­pected to cre­ate eight to 10 jobs ini­tially, with an­other eight to 10 in the sec­ond phase, ac­cord­ing to an as­sess­ment of the pro­posal pre­pared re­cently for Ar­gyle coun­cil. Jobs would in­clude me­chan­i­cal and lab tech­ni­cians, en­gi­neers and sup­port staff, the re­port said.

For those against the pro­posal, there are too many un­cer­tain­ties. The agenda for the Nov. 20 spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing in­cluded the read­ing of a let­ter from Matthew and Krista O’Con­nell, own­ers of one of the lots in the Tus­ket park, who said the risks of the pro­ject “far out­weigh the ben­e­fits.” Among other things, they ex­pressed con­cern

about how the de­vel­op­ment could di­min­ish prop­erty values.

On the other side, pro­po­nents say much ef­fort has gone into mit­i­gat­ing any is­sues as­so­ci­ated with the pro­ject and the de­vel­op­ment agree­ment is solid. An odour prob­lem could re­sult in the op­er­a­tion be­ing shut down.

Prior to the Nov. 20 spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing, it was not known for sure if coun­cil­lors would vote on the pro­ject that night, but they did, with the de­vel­op­ment agree­ment be­ing ap­proved by a 5-4 mar­gin.

Coun­cil ac­tu­ally made two mo­tions. The first, which would have re­jected the de­vel­op­ment agree­ment, was de­feated. The next mo­tion,

which was to sup­port the agree­ment, passed.

Those vot­ing in favour of the agree­ment were War­den Richard Don­ald­son and coun­cil­lors Lu­cien LeBlanc, Calvin d’En­tremont, Kathy Bourque and Glenn Dig­gdon. Those who voted against it were Deputy War­den Danny Muise and coun­cil­lors Guy Surette, Ni­cole Al­bright and Rod­er­ick (Ju­nior) Mur­phy.

Prior to the vote, coun­cil mem­bers had a chance to ex­press how they felt about the pro­ject. A re­cur­ring theme was the need to try to bal­ance eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment with the con­cerns of res­i­dents and their right to a good qual­ity of life.

Coun­cil­lors Ni­cole Al­bright

ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO

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