CORNWALL, Ontario – Angry city councillors are demanding that Transport Canada Minister Lisa Raitt meet with them to discuss ending the construction of chemical tanks on the city’s waterfront.
And they took aim at the project by passing a bylaw prohibiting its work.
Councillors voted Monday night to express “deep disappointment” with the fact that Transport Canada has entered into a lease with Trillium Distribution to erect a pair of calcium chloride tanks on Harbour Road.
“This is a way of getting the attention of Transport Canada and the minister responsible to ensure we have good dialogue,” said Coun. Glen Grant.
Coun. David Murphy said the city was left in the dark on the project.
“This is also an opportunity so that this doesn’t happen again. We have no control, no say,” he said.
“We weren’t a part of the process – but just being in the loop and engaged…would definitely be nice.”
The city used the Planning Act and passed an interim bylaw that prohibits any use of the property except for the use of so-called "open space" purposes as defined by the city's official plan.
The bylaw specifically prohibits the use of the property as a calcium chloride storage or transfer station.
"Stuff has been started, but what we need is something to stop it to make sure this kind of garbage doesn't happen again," said Coun. Denis Thibault.
CAO Norm Levac said it's possible the city could find itself saddled with a legal challenge.
"I think we may have to roll up our sleeves, we may be digging in on this one," said Murphy.
Mayor Bob Kilger admitted the city could find itself in the midst of a "legal discourse."
Tuesday all parties involved in the project will receive notice that work on the property must stop within 30 days.
Many councillors said the wording of its request for a meeting with the federal government doesn't go far enough.
“(The project is) insulting to the people of Cornwall,” said Coun. Bernadette Clement. “There is anger and disgust.”
Coun. Andre Rivette was of a similar mind.
“Is it strong enough? I would like to see it saying we rescind the contract and return it to the way it was before,” he said. “We want an action. And ‘deep disappointment’ is not going to handle it.”
Both agreed to support the language approved Monday night because it was better than doing nothing.
“We’ve got to go further,” said Clement.
Grant understood the frustration, but added a dialogue needs to take place instead of using more rhetoric.
“This is a good step and there’s other words we could have used, but the intention is there,” he said.