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Mayor pitches Port Picton project to provincial ministers

Mayor Robert Quaiff

Mayor Robert Quaiff

Prince Edward County mayor Robert Quaiff pitched a multi-million dollar port project for Picton Terminals Tuesday during meetings with provincial ministers.

Quaiff, with Neil Carbone, the County’s Community Development director, explained the expansion project seeking assistance to gain $10-million needed to help buy cranes needed for loading and unloading 100 ships per year – increasing the marine port capacity of eastern Ontario by 20-30 per cent.

The port, near Picton’s harbour, was purchased by the Doornekamp family’s ABNA Investments company in 2014 following decades of non-use. The company has already invested an initial $10 million in a $40 million plan over the next three years.

“I have minister meetings arranged and it’s with respect to Port Picton Terminal,” he said. “As part of the expansion plan for the terminal, of course, there is going to be more wear and tear on Highway 49.”

As all parties had caucus meetings, Quaiff and Carbone met with senior policy advisors from the offices of agriculture, food and rural affairs minister Jeff Leal; Steven Del Duca, the minister of transportation, and Brad Duguid, minister of economic development, employment and infrastructure.

“It was a very good meeting,” said Quaiff Tuesday night. “We spent the entire hour promoting and introducing Port Picton and they said they’ll get back to us shortly.”

The project was endorsed recently by the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus noting it could create a spinoff of up to 5,000 jobs for Eastern Ontario, among which, about 40 jobs could be created in the County.

Quaiff decided not to muddy the waters with more concerns about the condition of Highway 49, as that urgency has already been noted by numerous MPs and explained to provincial ministers.

“Mr. Del Duca is very much aware of the condition of that road and we didn’t feel we should use it as leverage for grants to roads,” added Quaiff.

Listed among the worst roads in Ontario in this spring’s CAA campaign, the County has been trying to gain provincial funding since an application was denied among 270 requests as it didn’t meet health and safety criteria required to get federal and provincial support for a $22-million resurfacing project.

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  1. Fred says:

    How can they operate without approved zoning?

  2. hockeynan says:

    You don’t seemed corned about the cement plant which has a huge coal pile and gypsum pile down at waters edge.Also you said cement was unloaded at the docks.There is quite a difference between the texture of clinker and cement.I am not sure where you live but if you live on waters edge are you sure your septic system is not leaching into the water.In other words Mr Makay you just don’t want the port across the bay from you

  3. David Mackay says:

    Like the other David in these posts I have lived across the bay from both the Picton terminals and the Essroc cement plant. ESSROC employs at least 80 people at the present time and while they have had some environmental issues they have endeavoured to be good neighbours. They contribute to many community ventures. However I am not aware of a single person employed by PT who lives in PEC. The entire property pays less THAN $7000.00 in property tax. They have contaminated neighbouring properties with salt. I have conducted tests on the run off water flowing into the bay which indicates that they are putting tons of salt into the water during run off. They have yet to deny this and there is an action being taken against them by the MOE for contaminating neighbouring property. They have claimed they have a plan to remediate this. To date this plan has not been implemented. In fact if they were serious about the concerns expressed about salt pollution they would have cancelled further shipments of salt until they can remediate the problem. Despite knowing they have a problem they continue to bring in tens of thousands of tons of salt.
    As well they have dumped hundreds of thousands of tons of rock into the bay. They claim they own 300 feet out into the water. Look into Hallowell Cove where they have constructed a road on environmentally protected land. And while I hate to disagree with my neighbour David, it took five days to unload a shipload of clinker from Greece,and for the neighbours behind PT and to the east of PT on the bay the dust was toxic. And For “hockeynan” PT off loaded ( twice ) an entire shipload of clinker one scoop at a time into trucks, each scoop sending dust into the air”. It took 5 days to do this. What they couldn’t load they left in a giant pile on the shoreline. I have already indicated to PT that I will file a complaint with the MOE the next time a ship comes in with clinker.
    By the County’s own admission PT are operating a port In an area not designated with that zoning. The story unfolding in Picton is the same story that has unfolded in Third World countries around the world that have a been exploited by big business . The resources are used up and destroyed leaving nothing behind for the residents except a devastated environment
    The owners of PT have found a Third World country In PEC where they can exploit the resources with little or no oversight by the Ministry of the environment, the Ministry of natural resources, and the municipality.
    But what’s even more ironic is they now want the province to give them $10 million. And why do they want $10 million? Because they realize they cannot do what they promised the shipping companies they can do. They cannot unload their ships in time. Ships that were to be unloaded in a day or two are taking anywhere up to eight days to unload. So they want us the taxpayers of Prince Edward County to bail them out and buy them some more equipment so they can do so.

    I have no concept of how this was allowed to unfold in our harbour. What has made Prince Edward county attractive to the world is it’s unspoiled natural beauty. How does turning our harbour into an industrial zone meet with this vision?

    And to answer those who question my motives – Here is a short story. Last spring I was fishing on our property with my grandson. As part of the construction process at PT , a blast of dynamite blew off part of the cliff face across from our dock sending tons of rock rolling into the bay. My grandson said” grandpa how can they do that to our water ? ”
    I had no answer for him.

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    It has been reported that this development could create as many as 40 jobs – which I highly doubt. But let’s just say that this is an accurate number – so what? If this development is potentially going to create a host of other problems from 24 – 7 truck traffic on our streets to the noise and pollution that ocean ship create – then 40 jobs in no way makes this a balanced trade-off. Not that any number of jobs would. I highly suspect that if this 40 number will be greatly reduced – to what maybe 10? The point that I am trying to make is that our community needs to have the FACTS given to us before any decision is made – otherwise we are developing our community in the dark and haven’t we been burned by that process before?

  5. Mark says:

    I don’t think many do not want to support an opportunity for the economy and jobs. They seem to just want it done safely and not having their waters negatively impacted. They should be provided those assurances.

  6. Paul Cole says:

    I’m glad to see a Mayor finally standing up and encouraging the growth of industry in The County. Imagine at least 40 jobs that may be incentive for born and raised County folk to stay and raise their families here contributing to the tax base and having a beautiful spot for their Children to grow up. This is a great thing and I hope it gains traction. Heck if the Provincial and Federal Governments kick in maybe 49 will get fixed…

  7. Fred says:

    Judy needs to defend or dispute the salt leaching into the harbour from the watershed. A watershed or a water shed we all know particularly in the age of texting. Spelling is not paramount here, the subject matter is.

  8. ADJ says:

    Along with the tractor pull at the Fair this year is a new event.. Ladies Mud-Wrasslin!! Yee-Haw!! Do we have some early contestants signing up?

  9. Marnie says:

    Have we now digressed to a discussion on the spelling of watershed? What a watershed moment. This sort of input will be invaluable. What an earth-shattering revelation – one word. Who knew? Now can we leave Spelling 101 and get back on track?

  10. judy kennedy says:

    watershed is one word

  11. Susan says:

    For the uninformed. A water shed is an area of land that catches rain and snow which drains or seeps into a body of water.

  12. judy kennedy says:

    they don’t keep water in a shed…Duh . .and considering where Dave McKay lives, he does have other motives—

  13. Debbie Rankin says:

    I agree with Fred. Read Dave’s letter to the editor in this weeks Gazette. I think something fishy is going on.

  14. Marnie says:

    And some people need to stop seeing an ulterior motive lurking behind every bush and tree.

  15. Susan says:

    Common sense would tell me not to stockpile salt near a water shed. Duh!

  16. judy kennedy says:

    good to see common sense from Mark R and Paul Cole.
    And I agree, some people need to be called out on their motives.

  17. David says:

    Being a proud and responsible Canadian citizen is nothing close to being like Donald Trump, Susan. A simple e mail or visit to the Picton Terminals and they will explain the solution to salt leaching. It was explained to all of us who attended the open house and they are working with the Ministry of Environment.
    Considering the sound studies that they have conducted and the fact that they e mail neighbours, like us to get feedback on noise and dust, the owners seem to be as open with the community as you could hope.

  18. Emily says:

    So you are saying all is fine and the letter to the editor is totally inaccurate.

  19. Paul Cole says:

    Sorry Emily my reference to Ladies was nothing but respectful my comments were not sexist at all you can play the gender card if you like but its not my style Ma’am.
    The Bethlehem Steel Company built the deep water docks in the early 50s to ship iron ore that was mined at the Marmoraton Mine in Marmora the dock ceased operations in 1978. Zoned and being used as it was meant to be used..

  20. Emily says:

    Not so certain you are accurate on that Paul. And the fact that we are ladies as you state, does that mean our concerns should be less taken seriously? Sexist comment or not why not let it be assessed and the public have the truth? Mr.Mackay is a responsible and respected citizen.

  21. Paul Cole says:

    LOL This is not a new start up business its an established business that has been operating for awhile now in a location that was used to run the exact same type of business in the past. So its already zoned and has passed requirements to operate. Hate to say it but you Ladies seem to have missed the boat on this one lol get it “missed the boat” oh nevermind….

  22. Emily says:

    Seems pretty simple in this day and age. Most all projects of this nature would be required to have an environmental assessment. Has the County done that before going for funding? Simple, does it meet zoning, does it meet environmental requirements? Surely the County would no those answers prior to requesting funding. Wouldn’t they????

  23. Susan says:

    Keep the faith Paul. You have a whole lot more blind confidence than I. I know as you should how things have gone astray affecting health. An environmental impact study is in need. That answers all the questions unless the Industrial Wind is brought into it. We already know they deceive to push that upon us.

  24. Paul Cole says:

    You hope so to Susan cause regardless of what you say they are in operation and The Ministry of Transportation had better be doing their job eh ?

  25. Susan says:

    You think. You have a lot of faith. Hope that works out.

  26. Paul Cole says:

    This is a paragraph from the Transport Canada website I posted a link in a previous post.

    “Transport Canada develops and administers policies, regulations and programs to protect the marine environment; reduce the impact on the environment of marine pollution incidents in Canadian waters; and promote the safety of the general public. It works with its partners to:
    • report marine pollution;
    • respond to marine accidents;
    • protect Canada’s navigable waterways; and
    • prepare for and respond to oil and hazardous noxious substance spills.”

    The Picton Terminal would have to follow these regulations..

  27. Susan says:

    I don’t know Paul. But given Mr.Mackay’s statement I would like assurances that there are not. This project is not worth the cost of contaminating the Harbour if indeed that is the case. Just due diligence is not much to ask for.

  28. Paul Cole says:

    I have no proof there are no environmental issues Susan, Are you certain there are any environmental issues. Surely the Port adheres to Canadian Regulations like here https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/marinesafety/oep-inspection-menu-770.htm

  29. Susan says:

    Paul , you know for certain that there are no environmental issues? David, you sound like Donald Trump i.e. salt leaching “they have a solution to that” but never tell us what they are going to do.

  30. David says:

    We have lived on Picton Bay for over 40 years and in our direct line of sight is Picton Terminals. We are excited to finally see that the facility is being used more to its potential. It is one of the best natural ports on Lake Ontario. It can potentially open up opportunities for many businesses to expand or at the very least save on overhead. Farmers could be the next group to benefit.
    As far as salt leaching goes, they have a solution to that. And so far no ship has brought in a product that is in competition with any product in the area. Clinker was brought in from Greece to save money for the cement plant at Bath. Steel was brought in from South Korea to save thousands of dollars for a Kingston company.
    We have seen no more dust as a result of recent comstruction at that site, and certainly no noise to intefere with our sleep!
    Highway 49 is in definite need of repair no matter what happens at Picton Terminals. We need to broaden our tax base and what better way than to make use of a “natural” facility that has been there for many years!

  31. Paul Cole says:

    Hows that tourist thing working ? this property is zoned and been used for exactly whats being done there now. Environmental issues my ace this is about property values and investment potential in tourism same with the windmills. I hope taxes go up whiners gonna whine

  32. Dennis Fox says:

    A few years ago, our Council engaged this community in “Round Table Discussions” to help determine what kind of place they wanted to live in. I attended some of those meetings and while decent jobs were a topic, if my memory is right no one suggested opening up Picton Harbour as the “gateway” terminal to Canada. In fact most business people wanted to see harbour-front properties purchased to open up the downtown for tourist and locals to see that we are in fact a waterfront community. Now what will they see – ocean freighters unloading 24/7 and the cement plant? I think this community deserves a conversation with our Council before any further decisions are made on this issue. Don’t you?

  33. Mark says:

    My concerns over water quality are indeed genuine. Water is the key to life. Like Marnie says, if this proposal is all good then there are no issues. If not, then now is the time to know.

  34. Marnie says:

    So we just accept whatever we are told and approve of the business schemes brought forward and anyone who asks questions has ulterior motives and is trying to stop progress in our county? If Mr. MacKay is guilty of this it should be easy enough to reveal his contentions as false information. Why are we afraid to shine a light on this proposal? If it’s all good fine but if concerns come to light upon investigation, then kudos to Mr. MacKay.

  35. Mark R says:

    Again, just like the wind turbine issue, locals pretending to take up noble causes while in reality their main concern is themselves. Dressing activism about the environment and water quality while their real worry is over noise of ships and the aesthetics of their view and landscape.

    Which granted, if you live right across the bay, may even be warranted. But just come out and say that. Don’t pretend to be this sudden environmental warrior out of nowhere. Don’t piss on my leg and tell me its raining.

  36. Mark says:

    I think the issues Mr. Mackay has raised need to be answered in entirety. This should be open and honest. If the water in Picton harbour is being impacted we have a huge problem.

  37. Paul says:

    And this is why industry refuses to come The County..Its not because we’re to far from the 401 and all that other bull sheets its because of NIMBYism and a possible OMB hearing watch n see…..

  38. Chris Keen says:

    Mr. Mackay makes some very serious allegations in his letter which most certainly should be investigated. I cannot imagine that Quinte Conservation would approve of the dumping of tons of rock into the harbour. Environment Canada also needs to test the water to insure that the salt content is at an acceptable level. I also read that part of the property is not zoned for its current use. If that is the case, why is it that being allowed by the County?

  39. wevil says:

    salt has been coming there for more than 40 years.what is the big issue really about all of a sudden

  40. Gary says:

    An environmental assessment would have been wise for Council to conduct prior to blindly jumping on board. Particularly the impact on the Harbour. Not to take away the concerns of locals, traffic, road stress, noise etc.

  41. hockeynan says:

    Just where would you store two boatloads of powdered cement.You would have to have silos to hold that cargo which the port doesn’t have.I think Mr McCay should get his facts straight before he publishes an article like that

  42. Fred says:

    Dennis: I believe we need to know if this terminal is impacting the water quality. Mr. Mackay states that tons of rock has been dumped and that salt is running off into the water. If true, how could this be allowed?

  43. Dennis Fox says:

    I find it a bit disturbing that such an endeavor is being pursued without the benefit of community input and before a thorough investigation of the potential impact of such an industry on Picton has taken place. The idea of encouraging any business at any cost is not one that I agree with. Has anyone at Shire Hall investigated the impact of such things as truck traffic 24 hours a day, noise levels for surrounding homes, both water and air pollution associated with a shipping terminal, or the economics of such a project? If not, then stop the process until this happens.

  44. hockeynan says:

    Now you guys have something else to complain about

  45. Jesse Medrano says:

    Dear Mayor, I’m trying to get in touch with someone in the areas of Wellington Ontario or Picot Ontario to rent a venue to bring our circus show into town. I would greatly appreciate it if you could be so kind as to get in touch with me at your earliest convenience, if at all possible.

    Thank you very much
    Very respectfully,
    Jesse Medrano
    956-624-6465

  46. Jason says:

    What Fred Said…If what Dave says is true then we’ve been under informed greatly.

  47. Fred says:

    Might be good to read Dave Mackay’s Letter to the Editor in todays Picton Gazette for another perspective on what this project has done to the area.

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