UPDATE: Charlebois, city, Akwesasne line up against waterfront tanks

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Waterfront tanks

CORNWALL, Ontario - The most vocal critic of a chemical tank project on the city's waterfront delivered his message loud and clear at a meeting Tuesday in Ottawa.

Chuck Charlebois, chair of Groupe Renaissance Group, told Seaway News in an interview he drove home several points against the project with representatives from Transport Canada.

"Now the question is how are they going to react to this?" Charlebois said.

There was actually more than one meeting that took place in Ottawa Tuesday, Charlebois said.

While the session he was involved in also included representatives from the city (Mayor Bob Kilger and administrators Norm Levac and Stephen Alexander), Akwesasne and MP Guy Lauzon, the company completing the work was absent.

Charlebois said he was unaware until he got to Ottawa that Trillium Distribution would be meeting separately with the city and federal government.

In the afternoon, city officials attended a second meeting with Lauzon, Transport Canada officials and representatives from Trillium Distribution Inc.

"A candid discussion was held towards finding a solution," the city said in a press release. "These parties agreed to meet again within the next two weeks."

Charlebois is hopeful the tanks will be removed.

"Someone is going to take all the evidence and analyze it and come to some kinds of a decision here," said Charlebois. "And the timing is such that it needs action immediately."

Kilger said city council will convene a special council meeting Thursday evening to publicly discuss Tuesday's sessions.

Kilger would not get into specifics without first discussing the issue with council, but called Tuesday's meeting a "frank" exchange of views.

"In this process we have to be mindful and respectful of the stakeholders," he said.

Kilger reserved comment when asked directly if there was an indication the project would permanently stop.

Charlebois was not given any specifics as to when the federal government will respond to this issue, but he has been led to believe something will come out of Ottawa in the next couple of weeks.

"We will get some kind of a reaction from them," he said. "What was important today is that everyone made their points and licked their wounds."

Organizations: Groupe Renaissance Group, Seaway News, Transport Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa, Ontario

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