Picton Terminals Ltd. has entered into an understanding with the County of Prince Edward that efforts by the company to address Ministry of the Environment and zoning concerns will be resolved in the near future – countering any speculation that legal charges could be pending by the municipality.
The company recently cancelled a rezoning application that was filed with the municipality earlier in the year, requesting a portion of its property be reverted from a mixed use/quarry to a port. Co-owner Ben Doornekamp said they decided to pull the application because after speaking with their lawyers and planning department they felt addressing the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s concerns was more imperative than the rezoning matters that could take years to clean up. Doornekamp said they will revisit the rezoning later if they deem it necessary.
On November 1, the MOECC issued an order that included 13 items pertaining to the covering of storage piles of salt and its stormwater runoff; dust and spills from petroleum coke; plans and measures to prevent discharge and removal of contaminants and drainage.
A press release issued on Tuesday by environmental lawyer Eric Gillespie who is representing the group Save the Picton Bay, said the company ‘could face serious legal charges by the County and the MOECC’ with the cancellation of the rezoning application.
Mayor Robert Quaiff told Quinte News the municipality has been given notice that within the bylaws, Picton Terminals is operating under a legal non-conforming agreement and the company is working with the MOECC to clean up the site by Christmas and into 2017.
“With this understanding, there is no appetite to pursue any legal action,” said Quaiff.
In light of this new information to lawyer Gillespie, he said his clients will be pleased to hear there is a plan in place.
Whether or not the MOECC plans to move ahead with its own set of charges hasn’t been confirmed to Quinte News.
“There is one little salt pile that is on an arch on a piece of property that we own but it’s not zoned properly and it will be moved by Christmas,” reaffirmed Doornekamp. “There is a rock pile that is beside a neighbouring property that has been there since 1981, it’s a great berm but we are not going to argue and we are going to move it throughout 2017.”
As for the stormwater runoff issues that have been ongoing for decades, Doornekamp said they are continuing to work with the MOE to address them.
In a recent email, MOE spokesman Lindsay Davidson confirmed Picton Terminals Ltd. has submitted two work plans to address items included in that order. Those work plans are being reviewed by the ministry he wrote.
“The existing application before the ministry for approval of a storm water management system proposed for the site is to be modified based on input from the ministry,” Davidson said. “The owner has secured an engineering consultant to undertake design modifications.”