Mayor Bob Kilger.
CORNWALL, Ontario - Mayor Bob Kilger said Wednesday the city is positioning itself to negotiate taking ownership of Cornwall waterfront land where a chemical tank construction site now sits.
Kilger said in an interview the city could meet with the federal government and Akwesasne to negotiate some kind of an agreement that would see ownership of the property turned over to the municipality - perhaps even in partnership with the Mohawk First Nation.
"Ultimately we want ownership," said Kilger.
City council is expected to weigh in on such a move Monday night when it meets.
The land is currently owned by Transport Canada, which has leased it to Trillium Distribution for the construction of a pair of calcium chloride tanks that are under construction.
The city was approached, years ago, by the federal government in an attempt to secure a deal to purchase the property. At that time the city said no, but with the uproar created by the tank construction, Kilger said city council may look at the situation differently now.
"We need to identify all options available to us," he said. "But the solution we need to arrive at is the removal of the tanks.
"And no further industrial use of those lands - forever and a day."
How much it would cost the city remains unclear, though council would likely find support from within the community to negotiate an ownership deal, especially if the alternative is the potential for more industrial use.
It's also unclear just how receptive Transport Canada would be to such an overture at this time, given that it has already signed a lease agreement with Trillium Distribution for the tanks â€“ and already offered the land once before.
All parties are expected to meet behind closed doors next Tuesday to hash out the issue.