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Interpretation of zoning for Picton Terminals adjourned to 2018

An answer as to whether Picton Terminals is allowed to continue operations under “legal non-conforming agreement” zoning won’t come until next year.

The citizens’ group Save Picton Bay has engaged environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie to challenge language in an old zoning bylaw to see if it allows the business to continue shipping and storing salt, bauxite, petcoke and strip mine the limestone.

Friday morning, the case was adjourned to Feb. 28, 2018.

Save Picton Bay is the applicant in the Superior Court of Justice case that names the County as the respondent. It is expected Picton Terminals will also be added as a respondent. The parties were directed by Justice Graeme Mew to file a timetable with the court by Nov. 10 for scheduling dates for delivery of affidavits and any cross-examinations.

Council has responsibility for zoning land uses, while the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is responsible for environmental issues.

In April 2017, council unanimously agreed to seek a report from staff on municipal options “to ensure the intent of municipal land use regulations and municipal and public interest, including obligations to our drinking water system, are being protected to the full extent of the law”; but opposed (10-5) withdrawing a 2016 motion to support the revitalization of the company.

Picton Terminals had pulled its zoning application last year saying it wanted to concentrate on MOEE clean up orders. The company also noted receipt of legal and professional planning opinions indicating that between the current zoning, and the pre-2006 zoning, they can operate as “legal non-conforming”.

The County’s solicitor, for the most part, agreed, but Save the Bay’s legal opinion is Picton Terminal’s use of land and dock is illegal and contrary to existing zoning.

Gillespie, on behalf of Save Picton Bay, seeks interpretation of the zoning bylaw and the previous zoing bylaw; and a declaration that the current use of Picton Terminals is not permitted.

Meanwhile, Prince Edward Hastings MPP Todd Smith has taken citizens’ concerns to MOECC Minister Chris Ballard.

In a letter dated Oct. 23, Smith explains concerns of citizens that cite Picton Terminal’s lack of compliance with ministry orders from 2016.

“My office has been in touch with the local ministery office and was advised in August of this year that the Ministry Order from 2016 had not been fulfilled and that the enforcement office would be issuing another order,” explained Smith. “Two months later, we have still not been made aware of any new order for compliance.”

The MOECC is continuing its investigation into noncompliance for a provincial order issued late last fall to cover salt piles stored outside at the site within 15 days of arrival. During a site visit in July, they were not covered. The MOECC has indicated impacts to groundwater and a neighbouring property, with potential impact to Picton Bay, as a direct result of the bulk salt storage.

The MOECC order, issued in November 2016, listed items to address, including stormwater runoff, dust and spills from petroleum coke; plans to prevent future discharge and removal of contaminants and drainage, as well as regular samplings of groundwater and surface water.

In August, Ben Doornekamp, of Picton Terminals spoke to Picton Rotarians of plans to construct covered buildings to store salt to solve concerns about dangerous levels of chlorides leeching into the bay. If it receives ministry approval to do so, Doornekamp said it could become the first port on the Great Lakes to keep 100 per cent of its salt in dry storage.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    It is well documented that the PT has violated a number of MOECC regulations re: pollution – both of air and water. We have read about this too in our local papers. The more recent photos show salt leaching into the water. One recent article told of the amount of salt being released into the lake at the PT site and it was huge.(Sorry I forget the number) However, it begs the question as to why the MOECC are not enforcing their own rules & why should anyone have to press government to do their job over matters that should be automatic.

  2. Mark says:

    Water has been terrible for ages way before PT. Personally I would not recommend drinking it. Just pay near the highest rates in Canada for crap.

  3. ADJ says:

    Leads to the question as to why the water supply is so heavily chlorinated. Could this be why bottled water is always on the grocery list? Let’s see some water quality testing taken from the Bay on a regular basis(monthly).It’s done at every swimming beach all summer,so do Picton Bay and post it . I’m guessing this will never happen….it could lead to a complete shutdown. Anything cancer causing in the Bay? possibly from years past when everything and anything was dumped into it. Add to this a closed leaching dump site and a teatment sewage plant and I wouldn’t drink it.Chlorine just adds more poison.

  4. Chuck says:

    Paul is correct on this Dennis. Picton’s water supply has not been contaminated. Puzzled why you would indicate that.

  5. Paul Cole says:

    It has NOT harmed our water supply Dennis, the water intake was shut down in case the diesel fuel reached the intake pipe but it never did get that far. I can not recall anytime that our water supply in Picton has been contaminated with anything from either Picton Terminals or Lehigh Cement plant. Do you have fact based evidence of Pictons water supply being contaminated by ANYTHING in the past ???

  6. Dennis Fox says:

    Several writers have stated that the Terminal will provide good paying jobs for our youth – which I can’t argue. However, does anyone know just how many jobs will be created and what they will pay – and where did this information originate from?

    However, despite the potential numbers that might or might not be involved, they shouldn’t be used as an excuse to allow pollution nor be allowed to harm a town’s water supply – which like it or not is happening, while our governments at different levels sit back and do nothing.

  7. Paul Cole says:

    If Picton Terminals was zoned improperly The County would have shut them down when the Doornekamp’s initially approached Town Council for support in the ports expansion which Council supported 100%. As far as environmental concerns go the port has operated for over 50 years without incident until the recent barge sinking and even the MOECC commended Picton Terminals and the Doornekamp’s for their quick response and proper handling of the situation. The Doornekamp’s and Picton Terminals are in the process of complying with Ministry orders even going over and above by providing covered enclosures for salt piles. The County needs good paying jobs to retain our Youth allowing them to start and raise Families as a lot of us did in the past. I know the Johnny come latelys may not understand how great it is to raise a Family in a small community as beautiful as Prince Edward County and all it has to offer youngsters…

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    I didn’t live here 25 years ago and perhaps back then environmental issues/hazards were not as well known about. Just to respond to your question – I am not “upset.” First of all, I don’t live in town and nor do I use town water, but I do care about the safety of others and want to see them have a clean water supply. Taking into account the very high price that people are paying for town water, I think they should be able to feel that it is at least clean and safe to drink.

    Also, if we are not going to demand a cleaner environment now – then when?

  9. hockeynan says:

    How come you didn’t get upset 25 years ago.This guy is doing a far better job than foley.

  10. Dennis Fox says:

    I could be wrong, but didn’t the zoning for this site get changed a couple of years after amalgamation when the County consolidated the zoning by-laws of the 10 municipalities? Regardless of what the zoning is now, the fact is he Terminal is not following the rules as set out by the MOECC and has been reprimanded in the past for their sloppy operation. Between a leaking barge and leaching salt, the municipality needs to get tough with this operation – the surrounding water provides Picton with drinking water. If this operation is legal, then how do we get them to follow the rules – because they have not shown any interest in even trying. This should be a concern to everyone – including our council.

  11. hockeynan says:

    I agree.How did the zoning change because the port has been operating for at least 25 years as a salt storage when Foley owned it.

  12. Paul Cole says:

    Picton Terminals was zoned properly back in the early sixties when it opened as Bethlehem Steel Iron Ore Docks and has operated continuously since. Although zoning around the sight has changed to residential Picton Terminals retains its zoning because it has never ceased to operate as a Port…..

  13. wevil says:

    good luck to picton terminals

  14. Dennis Fox says:

    I have just read the Quinte News site about this same issue – according to them, Council has only recently passed the “legal non conforming” by-law for the Terminal operation. If this is accurate, then under what zoning has the Terminal been operating under? Also, considering that the Terminal withdrew its own request for re-zoning in 2016, the same question still exist – are they operating under any by-law at all or just a “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” from the municipality? Seriously, things should not be run like this regardless of what side of this argument you are on. From the barge spill to wind turbines – our Council plays the political game but does not lead – none of the councillors do!

  15. Paul Cole says:

    Once the Court finds that Picton Terminals is in fact zoned properly it will bring much needed jobs and revenue to Residents and The County.. Good Luck Picton Terminals there is a great deal of support for your success

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