Seaway residents concerned about proposed silos
Published Wednesday, June 26, 2013 5:45PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, June 26, 2013 7:07PM EDT
A scenic strip of the St. Lawrence Seaway could soon be home to four giant silos. A private company wants to build a grain terminal near Morrisburg to feed the growing demand for corn and soy. The plans are to build the silos along the Seaway on Lakeshore Drive, between Morrisburg and Iroquois. But residents worry the proposal will destroy the historic riverfront.
The grain bins at the Port of Prescott, about 25 minutes down the road, each hold 5-thousand tons of grain with trucks going in and out nonstop. The ones proposed for the Iroquois site would each hold 20-thousand tons.
“This is not the place,” says Marianne Coligan, who lives across the road from the proposed grain terminal. She worries about the noise, the pollution and the possibility of an explosion like the one in northwest Indiana on Monday that killed an employee.
"Once again we are being infiltrated by something that is entirely misplaced in this area,” says Coligan. A salt pad currently sits near the site of the proposed terminal.
Coligan and other residents in South Dundas are fighting the private company that plans to build two and possibly four 20,000 ton silos that will store corn, soybean and wheat. Five to eight thousand truckloads each year will carry the grain in and out for loading onto ships and for distribution to the marketplace.
“They're talking about a 24 hour operation,” says Iroquois resident Gerben Schaillee, “year round and the truck traffic would be immense.”
"We're talking about the ruination of a provincial waterfront trail,” says Iroquois resident Chris Roundtree, “and increased hazard and noise to the townships of Morrisburg and Iroquois.”
The mayor for the area is a grain farmer and supports the plan.
"It meets the zoning requirements, says Steven Byvelds. “It has the potential to bring something new to South Dundas in the way of new business.”
But it's all about interpretation. The residents argue the zoning does not allow for giant silos. The municipality does not have a full-time planner so it hired a private consultant to interpret its bylaws. That interpretation determined that a silo could be considered a warehouse for storing commodities such as corn, and a warehouse is allowed on the property, currently zoned light industrial.
The owner of the property says the proposed terminal is good news for farmers in Eastern Ontario.
“There’s a benefit for the farming community which is by far the largest portion of the township,” says Tom Kaneb. “It’s an added marketplace for their produce.”
Residents are pushing for a special council meeting to present their concerns.