Residents upset with development agreement being OK’ed

Town hallApproval of a development agreement for a new industrial facility on Howard Ave. did not sit well with area residents.

Council approved the agreement with the Jones Group to operate a waste disposal site at 7809 Howard Ave. According to a report from town planner Rebecca Belanger, “the site will mainly be used to store recyclable construction, demolition and other scrap metal materials and will occasionally process concrete, asphalt and clean wood.

The facility is accessed from Howard Ave. via a proposed dedicated left turning lane.”

Voting to approve were Mayor Wayne Hurst and councillors Carolyn Davies, Bob Pillon and John Sutton. Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland and councillors Diane Pouget and Bart DiPasquale opposed.

Pouget said said she was concerned with health, safety and environmental issues.

She said the land is “right next to a residential area. I just can’t support the motion (to approve).” Pouget added, “I’m all for development but we have to keep our residents safe.”

Belanger said a holding provision would stay on the property until all required studies have been completed. She said the agreement was “very carefully drafted” with assistance given by the town’s solicitor.

“It’s a more restrictive agreement than you normally see with commercial and industrial agreement,” she said. Pillon said the area has been designated heavy industrial in the town’s Official Plan “for quite some time.”

He understood there were residents who live in the area but said previous councils agreed to designate the area heavy industrial. “I think we’ll do an awful injustice to the community if we turn down an opportunity to get tax dollars out of this,” said Pillon.

Davies said she has “never seen so many restrictions” on a development agreement before. Sutton agreed, saying the number of safeguards and restrictions were “the most I’ve ever read.” Sutton added the residents of the area will keep an eye to ensure no violations occur in the future.

After the vote was finalized, residents angrily left the council chambers with one resident shouting “you are worried about a fire at (a campground) and you are not concerned about us?” in reference to an earlier debate over a nuisance smoke bylaw.

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