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Environmental group opposes Stronach plans for beef operation

Letter to the Editor:
On Wednesday Sept. 4, the Stronach group, with support from former Stouffville mayor Justin Altman made a presentation to the County’s agricultural advisory committee concerning plans to raise and slaughter organic, mostly grass-fed beef in Prince Edward County.

As we understand the proposal, at the start of the operation they would hope to produce 10 cattle a week for slaughter after approximately 24 months on pasture and organic hay and grain. This size of operation implies over 6,000 acres of organic grazing land, not to mention untold acreage to produce organic hay and grain. It seems likely that some if not much of this feed would be sourced outside the County and trucked in.

In addition, Mr. Stronach wants to use some of the 3,000 acres of land he and his son own in Prince Edward County to build a 10,000 square foot abattoir at 191 Hilltop Rd. between Brewers and Duetta Rd. Documentation provided shows that he will use the two waterfront pieces of land across from the proposed abattoir site to install a pumping station and pipeline to provide water from Lake Ontario for his abattoir.

Our concern is that Mr. Stronach has described this endeavour as agriculture. In fact, we believe that an abattoir is an industry as is a water pumping station on the waterfront. It is an industry that brings with it heavy truck traffic to seasonal roads, noxious smells, loud noises and massive amounts of biological waste. The meat packing and preservation industry has high demands for water and waste management.

Looking at Schedule B in the draft updated official plan we can see that 191 Hilltop Rd and the land across which the water pipeline would run is within a Natural Core Area. It includes a provincially significant wetland and areas of hardwood forest. The draft official plan does not allow for industrial or commercial development in such Natural Core Areas. Hilltop Rd is currently the northern boundary of the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. The importance of that area to migrating birds and bats and as the home of 23 species at risk including the iconic Blanding’s Turtle has been recognized by two Environmental Review Tribunals. To expect that such important habitat stops at the arbitrary boundary of a man-made road is fool hardy. The South Shore of Prince Edward County is not a place for industrial development of any kind.

The County’s Build a New Life web site speaks of the County as a place of rural calmness. If this new industry is allowed to be developed on Hilltop Rd. not only will it cause destruction to an important natural habitat but any rural calmness that exists now will be extinguished.

In considering all the foregoing, the South Shore Joint Initiative opposes the Stronach project as described and urges the County to deny any applications related to its implementation.

The South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI) is a coalition of local, provincial and national groups working to initiate, develop and promote actions to permanently protect and enhance the Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA). The primary goals are to protect land from ecologically harmful development in order to maintain or increase the biodiversity of its terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and to connect people to nature through educational and public awareness activities.

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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  1. Steve Petrus says:

    Doesn’t make sense to truck in & out of PEC, not only will this cause issues to the communities they travel through i.e. damaged roads, noise etc, but it raises numerous safety concerns.
    As mentioned by SS, why not build closer to the 401?

  2. SS says:

    Should be much closer to 401 for all kinds of reasons. Good letter.

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