CORNWALL, Ontario – It looks like construction will resume any day now at the site of a pair of controversial chemical tanks on Cornwall’s waterfront.
City hall said Monday despite efforts to arrive at a solution Trillium Distribution plans to resume work at the site owned by Transport Canada at Cornwall Harbour.
The work may resume as early as this week, said the city.
“I am disappointed that Trillium has chosen to not recognize the city’s interim control bylaw,” said Mayor Bob Kilger. “I remain optimistic that a solution exists that will see a permanent end to this activity on Cornwall’s waterfront through the divestiture process.”
A source told Seaway News last week that the city and Trillium were in discussion to see the company operate the tanks for one year, before leaving.
City CAO Norm Levac said talks have have the gamut.
“We’ve certainly had many discussions with Transport Canada and Trillium,” he said. “There’s a number of options that have been explored.
“But how that ends up in the long term, no one really knows.”
For the tanks to be used, if only for one year, they still need to be completed.
In the meantime critics of the project are planning a protest of sorts near the entrance to the construction site.
Mark MacDonald, a former city councillor turned community activist, said a group plans to set up a structure used for the annual Cornwall cabane a sucre at the entrance to the site.
MacDonald would not say the group plans to block access to the site, but wouldn’t rule it out either.
“We’re looking at all the options until we find out what is going on,” said said. “We’re setting up down there.”
Trillium and Transport Canada have entered into a lease for the construction and use of tanks on the site. The city has been and remains opposed to the ongoing use of the Cornwall Harbour for the transportation and storage of calcium chloride.
The city has not provided any approval for this project and Transport Canada has maintained that it has sole jurisdiction over development on the lands.
The city and Akwesasne are still in negotiations with Transport Canada to assume ownership of the land, by way of the government’s port divestiture program.
The ultimate goal is for the City of Cornwall and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to take ownership of the harbour lands, which would include the site in question.
The city passed an interim control bylaw on Dec. 9 that prevents the use of the land at Cornwall Harbour for any use other than open space and is in effect for a period of one year. It is intended to give council and city staff an opportunity to study and subsequently consider adopting different zoning strategies for the area.
Trillium has appealed the bylaw to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), and it has also filed an application with the Superior Court of Ontario challenging the authority to adopt the Bylaw.
In February, the city issued various “stop work orders” intended to prevent work that is not in compliance with the Bylaw and undertaken without any City building permit. Because work continued, the city served various summons under the Provincial Offences Act, seeking the court’s action to enforce the orders. The matter is before the Courts, and the first hearing is scheduled for April 15.