WATERFRONT TANKS: Lauzon feeling the heat from residents

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This image from Guy St-Jean shows some snow clearing taking place at the site of a controversial chemical tank project in Cornwall.

CORNWALL, Ontario - In spite of demands for action and frustration with the federal government, local MP Guy Lauzon insists he's doing as much as he can to find an alternative to chemical tanks on Cornwall's waterfront.

In an interview Wednesday morning Lauzon said he's aware of the vitriol being directed at his office, and the federal government, and that he's addressing concerns as much as he can.

Construction at the chemical tank site resumed this week, with the stop-work orders removed from the fencing outside the property and increased activity.

Since then social media posts and public comments are demanding more action out of the local Tory MP.

Groupe Renaissance Group president Chuck Charlebois labeled decision-makers on parliament hill an "I-don't-know" government for the lack of answers on the issue.

"I understand his frustration with that," said Lauzon, who added the lease agreement signed between Trillium Distribution and Transport Canada for the waterfront lands was done at a bureaucratic, not political level. "For the public to understand that....we have to go through the bureaucrats to solve the problem.

"You can't tell a bureaucrat to do something that is wrong or against the law."

Transport Canada signed a lease with Trillium last fall to allow for the construction of the tanks on federally-owned land near the Cornwall Harbour.

Once word of the project went public a firestorm of criticism was created.

It was pointed out to Lauzon that many Cornwall residents are demanding greater accountability on the issue through his office, and ultimately a directive to stop construction.

"I know, but we don't have that power," he said.

Lauzon has requested an update on the issue via Transport Canada.

"I was probably as surprised as anyone," Lauzon said of learning that construction at the site had resumed. "What happened to the (search) to find an alternative?"

More to come.

Organizations: Transport Canada

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario

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