Honeywell hosts final Community Advisory Panel (CAP) meeting


Vaughan Hansen, plant manager at the Amherstburg Honeywell plant, discusses the shutdown of the facility with members of the CAP.

Vaughan Hansen, plant manager at the Amherstburg Honeywell plant, discusses the shutdown of the facility with members of the CAP.

By Ron Giofu


Honeywell is hoping to leave the community only temporarily and is aiming to do so on a good note.

That was one of the messages conveyed at the final Community Advisory Panel (CAP) meeting held last Thursday evening at the John Blyton Memorial Training Centre, located on the Honeywell site. Blyton was praised as a former employee and CAP member who was a strong advocate for safety and environmental compliance.

Giovanni Grande, the plant’s health, safety and environment (HSE) manager, said the plant has gone 259 days without a “recordable” injury – an injury that goes beyond first aid – and 406 days without an environmental incident. There are still roughly 60 people on site working, he said, as efforts are being made to wind up operations.

“We finished our production in December,” said plant manager Vaughan Hansen. “Our people handled it professionally. We had a very successful wrap-up.”

There will be no chemicals on site, Hansen continued, and that distribution is still occurring out of the soon-to-be mothballed Amherstburg site. Remaining workers are slowly shutting down the plant with that work due to be complete by late-July and possibly into August.

Hansen told the CAP – which is made up of community members, representatives from the workforce and representatives of Amherstburg police and fire – the remaining team is looking at a tremendous amount of detailed work in order to close up shop safely and possibly re-open it in the future.

“I guess we’re leaving on a good note,” he said.

Negotiations have taken place with Unifor Local 1959 with workers being laid off as the work dwindles. Hansen said that was a “terrible” process to have to go through and hoped he would never have to go through it again.

“It’s unfortunate the demand is just not there for the product,” said Hansen.

The site will continue to have security and will be monitored 24/7, 365 days per year. A production team lead – Tony Loggie – will also remain on site, Hansen said, in case the plant has to be restarted for any reason.

“When we leave, we are not going to leave any hazardous materials behind,” said Grande.

The portion of the site known as the Mailloux quarry will be filled with water with Grande stating it will be the equivalent to Amherstburg having its own in-land lake. Grande said that solution is not ideal for the safety concerns he had but it does provide some measure of addressing them. Work to protect species-at-risk, including some species of snakes, will be ongoing as well with Grande stating habitat restoration and relocation occurring on the site.

As for lands controlled under the Amherstburg Land Holdings umbrella, Grande said one bunker tank has been removed with 400 million liters of oil having been removed to date. Fifty million liters of bunker oil sludge will still have to be removed by heating it and pumping it out into trailers for transport. The site’s calcium chloride warehouse remains as will the offices and the dense ash warehouse with Grande noting aggregate that will be used at other locations consist of recycled concrete from the buildings that were torn down.

Layoff numbers are expected to hit “high 70s, low 80s,” Grande projects and reiterated what Hansen said about negotiations with Unifor.

“This whole suspension and schedule reduction was done in cooperation with Unifor. We negotiated a suspension settlement,” said Grande.

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