LAUZON SPEAKS: City kept in the dark about new tanks

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Waterfront tanks

CORNWALL, Ontario - A city councillor said municipal officials were kept totally in the dark on a plan to build two new storage tanks on Cornwall's waterfront.

"We were not told anything," said a frustrated David Murphy, who added neither were administrators. "Permits are not required because it is federal land and they can do whatever they want with it.

"We were just as surprised and disappointed as everyone else."

MP Guy Lauzon said he has put in an inquiry to Transport Canada for details, but added if an agreement has been signed in good faith with a private firm, he's not sure what, if anything, can be done to stop the project from moving forward.

"If they have a legal agreement, how can you stop this?" Lauzon said, adding he found out about the project when media reports began to circulate Thursday.

Seaway News broke the story of the new tanks and criticism has quickly spread.

A source has told Seaway News the company that signed the lease agreement with Transport Canada is Trillium Distribution, a firm that specializes in road safety measures like the appilcation of calcium chloride.

Seaway News attempted to contact management at the company who only offered: "We've been following the media reports in Cornwall and we have no comment" before hanging up the phone.

Lauzon has been in touch with municipal officials and hopes work can be undertaken to "mitigate" any issues if the tanks are "unsightly."

The tanks are expected to be largely underground, but will still be visible from the road.

Social media sites lit up when word got out about the tanks - and residents are not happy.

Many are taking aim at the federal government for signing a lease with a private firm that is in the midst of leasing the property adjacent to the Cornwall Harbour and building two tanks that will be recessed into the ground and contain calcium chloride.

Transport Canada owns the property, but signed a lease agreement this fall with a private firm. Seaway News has been told the lease could stretch as long as 10 years, though government officials have not confirmed this.

There was no public consultation before construction began.

"We have to stand up and demand an explanation regarding these tanks that are being installed at our waterfront," Cornwall resident Karen Torrie-Racine posted on her Facebook page.

The sentiment was similar among other local residents.

"Asking all my Facebook friends in Cornwall and region to get the word out about the terrible plan for storage tanks on our waterfront," businessman Roy Perkins chimed in. "Not good.

"We need to get organized so we have some input on this issue.....the future of our city's and region growth is at stake."

Mayor Bob Kilger has already indicated his preference that a calcium chloride storage facility not be built on what was once an oil tank farm.

The city, though, has been left on the sideline since it does not own the property.

Chuck Charlebois, president of Groupe Renaissance Group, has emailed several contacts in Cornwall looking to rally support against the continued construction of the tanks.

"Transport Canada apparently takes the position that they need to generate money. Sounds good, however, could they have sold the property instead?" Charlebois said in his email.

It's expected that the calcium chloride will be delivered by ship, and then trucks will transport the material from the storage tanks.

Organizations: Transport Canada, Groupe Renaissance Group

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario

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Recent comments

  • stellabystarlight
    December 08, 2013 - 22:49

    Dear MP Lauzon You never seem to know whats going on in Cornwall seems like its time you resign Your throwing in the towel without a peep

  • Ginette Guy
    December 08, 2013 - 18:00

    This project is quite contrary to the vision and plans put forward by the WFC and Groupe Renaissance for our waterfront. Heritage-Patrimoine Cornwall supports these groups in their efforts to overturn this land use project. Ginette Guy, Chair Heritage-Patrimoine Cornwall

  • Ginette Guy
    December 08, 2013 - 18:00

    This project is quite contrary to the vision and plans put forward by the WFC and Groupe Renaissance for our waterfront. Heritage-Patrimoine Cornwall supports these groups in their efforts to overturn this land use project. Ginette Guy, Chair Heritage-Patrimoine Cornwall

  • John Towndrow
    December 07, 2013 - 19:14

    This is simply unacceptable! After all the City's efforts to engage the public in waterfront development along comes the Federal Government acting like it's the 1950's. Come on Guy Lauzon - use some muscle to get this stopped - don't take no for an answer.

  • Stevo
    December 07, 2013 - 04:29

    I don't really understand what the fuss is here? First time I even here about these tanks but from doing some research on calcium chloride, it's completely safe and harmless. So you guys mad that they are stealing your land or something?

  • Todd Bennett
    December 06, 2013 - 18:28

    The fact that Transport Canada was fully aware of the cities desire to acquire that land, make this decision to lease to a private company that much harder to swallow. What is even more disgusting, is that it was all done in secret. If there is nothing wrong with this decision, then why do it in secret. Mr. Parisien, I don't remember anyone discussing tanks at this site at the last WFC meeting.

    • William E Beattie
      December 08, 2013 - 08:29

      Todd : You are quite correct tanks were not discussed . It was only after WFC meeting that I asked Steven Alexander what was happening and pointed out that 2 large shovels & a big bulldozer were working on that site we were just attempting to find out what was going on ? Mayor Kilger entered into the conversation and stated to Steven that as it was Fed. Govt. that no building permit were required and Steven agreed

  • Denise Levac
    December 06, 2013 - 15:30

    It took many years of hard work and determination by the Waterfront Development Committee and Groupe Renaissance Group to get rid of the old storage tanks. It is simply unacceptable that new tanks should go up on the same site and act as a deterrent to the development of our waterfront. Numerous surveys have been conducted among the residents and storage tanks most certainly do not form part of their vision of the waterfront landscape. We have to keep fighting to try and reverse this short-sighted decision.

  • Phillip Blancher
    December 06, 2013 - 15:00

    The city of Cornwall should have passed covenants on the property to deal with future use of the land. Without that, too bad for the City. Whining about what didn't happen doesn't change things that are happening. At least these new tanks will bring construction jobs here for the short term.

  • James Raynor
    December 06, 2013 - 12:50

    Anyone else ever notice how Super Guy is always behind the 8 ball? When Columbia Finishing Mills lost the passport contract, he only decided to act when it was too late. Same thing here. How he not know what's going on? Its his job to know. Or maybe he's claiming ignorance in an attempt to save face.

  • Claire Antoine
    December 06, 2013 - 10:05

    This cannot be allowed. The waterfront area has undergone a revitalization and clean up from industrial to residential. Residential investments are being compromised. Its incomprehensible how one section of Cotton Mill Street is being publically marketed "residential" while further up the same street is being "secretly" further developed industrial. There are too many exceptions to the approved waterfront plan. How are these exceptions born and who is responsible. The smoke screen around the ten year lease from Transport Canada must be removed and discussion open to the public.

      December 06, 2013 - 15:08

      Claire,,,, No doubt about it, this lease must be revoked, cancelled immediately. If it does get canned, it will come at a significant cost ! What bothers some of us, is that this was discussed at the last WFC meeting , at the end of the meeting, in a casual conversation. This construction has been going on for about a month now ! I'm delighted to see Chuck, taking the ball & running like hell with it ! We agree, "this cannot be allowed" !