The Save Picton Bay matter was back in court Monday.
At Quinte Courthouse in Belleville Monday, Justice Wolf Tausenfreund heard from all three parties trying to establish if, in fact, the business conducted at Picton Terminals does fall within the scope of legal non-conforming use or not.
Save Picton Bay lawyer Eric Gillespie says there is proof the number of ships coming to Picton Terminals has increased.
He says that is a clear increase and that should be sufficient to demonstrate a substantial increase in activity which is what the Supreme Court says the company is not permitted to do.
Picton Terminals lawyer Tony Fleming disputed that statement, while Gillespie presented numbers that showed one ship arriving at the port once a year with between 20,000 and 25,000 short tons leading up to 2006.
After that, he said, the number of ships arriving increased to between two and five a year, and an increase of salt on the property increased as well.
Fleming said Canadian Shipping Lines isn’t the only company coming to Picton Terminals and told the court the numbers presented by Gillespie were misleading.
Fleming told the court that according to a Supreme Court ruling, the use of a site can be flexible and change over time.
He says “The types of materials being shipped doesn’t change what the port is being used for.”
Fleming told the court pre-2006 they had a port; post-2006 they have a port.
Gillespie disagreed and says the issue with Picton Terminals didn’t appear until after the activities on the site increased.
Prince Edward County lawyer David DeMille says the expanded use of Picton Terminals came up previously in 1986.
He says this rezoning just fell through the cracks when the comprehensive rezoning was done in 2006.
DeMille told the court that the business on the property still falls within the general use of their legal non-conforming bylaw.
Another issue at stake was whether a significant impact on the Bay and neighbouring properties could be proven.
Gillespie says a report presented to the court from Kevin Shipley from XCG Consulting of Kingston stated he estimated the salt losses over the last five years to be 10,908 short tons which works out to 1,981 metric tonnes a year.
He told the court when the amount of salt increased to Picton Terminals, that’s when the issues began.
In 2014, Shipley said the salt ponds were no longer working. The complaints then began, followed by the province, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Fisheries and Natural Resources.
Gillespie told the court that between May and November of 2017 there were 72 complaints. Prior to 2006, there were none.
Fleming acknowledged Picton Terminals may not have been able to comply with the orders from the Ministry as quickly as it would have liked, but the company is working with them.
A resolution is expected in the coming weeks.