© Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - The chief critic of a pair of waterfront tanks in Cornwall conceded Monday night the fight to oppose the tanks has been lost.
Chuck Charlebois, chair of Groupe Renassiance Group, met with city council and said the future is about finding uses for waterfront land that is in the best interests of the city.
"For this battle it's over. We lost - and that's it," said Charlebois, who was also representing the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, Le Village BIA, and the city's waterfront committee. "We can ponder on why...but it's not going to get us anywhere and I think we all realize that.
"What's important now is the war and the war is how are we going to conduct ourselves moving forward."
Charlebois said the city must focus on Transport Canada's port divestiture program to protect the future use of Cornwall's waterfront.
"We want the best land use...through divestitutre," he said. "The best interest of our people are taken into account."
Charlebois was lauded by city councillors for his work - which included sending hundreds of emails and conducting rallies and presentations in opposition to the tanks, which were built by Trillium Distribution to house calcium chloride.
"I look forward to your continued assistance and co-operation," said Mayor Bob Kilger, who also praised Charlebois for his ability to "solidify the sentiment and the hopes and asperations of our community.
"We see divestiture as the correct instrument to acquire those lands."
City CAO Norm Levac said negotiations between Cornwall, Akwesasne and Transport Canada have begun, with an aim to seeing the city and First Nation assume ownership of the property which is adjacent to the harbour.
Levac said it's anticipated as many as 10 trucks per day will leave the waterfront tank area to transport the chemical outside the city.
Coun. Denis Carr agreed the future is about acquiring the land via divestiture.
"If we want to have control of that land we have (exploit) the divestiture program," he said.