Cornwall Ontario – Tonight, at 7 p.m, Cornwall’s city council held a special meeting pertaining to the health and safety of all the city’s residence.
The issue being, the two tanks planned to contain calcium chloride. This all originally started because Transport Canada leased Federal lands to Trillium Distribution.
There has already been three meetings on the matter, each ending with the people of Cornwall fighting back to say, NO MORE TANKS. One of the city’s councilor’s Bernadette Clement said this at the meeting,
“There are two objectives, get the tanks off and this can’t happen again.”
Currently, the council is still in the process of gathering as much information on this topic as they can and the mayor, along with the CAO, will be attending a meeting in Ottawa regarding this topic on Jan 17, 2014. As stated earlier, the lands were leased by Transport Canada to Trillium Distribution. Currently Trillium is in agreement to halt construction and development on the site where the two individual tanks are located while discussions and meetings are taking place on the matter. Gerald Charlbois, (who also goes by the nickname Chuck) who brought the matter up last Monday, gives CFN his opinion,
“Well I think it’s- the first thing I want to commend or recognize, is that the public is fully involved. It’s full disclosure and that’s good. I think people wanted to understand what was happening better and this process, and we were told that that’s the way it’s going to be on this issue, that everybody will be informed after every meeting. That means the public has a chance to act.”
What the city still does not have, and needs to obtain in order to further the process of the investigation, is a copy of the lease between Trillium Distribution and Transport Canada. The lease, which has been in use since Nov 1, 2013, is still on going, but the copy of the lease they need is still unavailable. They did receive a sketch of the project, however this still is not enough documentation to come to any final conclusion or resolution. Councilor Denis Carr says,
“We’re not going to be the lamb we’re going to be the wolf.”
This statement was a clear sign that the city is not going to sit by any longer with their tails between their legs. They are going to commit one hundred and ten percent of their efforts to get these two chemical holding tanks cleared from the harbor. Gerald’s words clearly show that our community was not happy about the situations occurring with the tanks. The community is desperately trying to reclaim their harbor front. Gerald mentions,
“there’s other lands other issues we can’t go through this every time there has to be public consultation I know the what law says right now. They don’t have to say a thing, they, the federal government but you can’t. That’s not acceptable in 2014 any more that you can just walk into our city and affect our plans, our water front plan, our economic development plan. You can’t do that. If you’re going to be a partner, that’s the three levels of government. But in the three levels of government you got to remember one thing. They’re there to represent us, not the individual company but the majority, and the majority, right now is not too pleased and they want action and this council is perusing that. That’s the third time that they reaffirmed their position.”
This is not the time for Cornwall’s city council to sit by idly and twiddle their thumbs, Gerald is right. Now is definitely the time to take action towards this problem. The city councilor stood up, addressing all those who attended the meeting saying,
”I wanna see that we are going to be able to get to some place that’s long term”
Effects need to be put into play now, not long-term. We all need to come together to take action with the city council and our mayor Bob Kilger. Cornwall has the community on its side as well as its government. Gerald comments,
“The one thing we got is one week of time. Even though that’s not going to make the company do anything. Secondly we got the population is starting to get more engaged. Third we have an option, we the public, is that we should consider a freedom of information. But I wouldn’t do that alone without asking the people that supported us.”
Councilor Clement also went onto state,
“Cornwall has plans and visions and we are not going to take that again.”
This year Cornwall is going to be seeing a lot of changes, especially where politics and the environment are concerned. Where the harbor and the problems connected to the tanks there are concerned. Although it is unlikely the issue will be completely solved due to the meeting, we can at least keep our fingers crossed for any chance of a positive change towards this environmental hazard.
Editors note: There will be a peaceful rally starting at 2 PM Saturday January 18th from Guy Lauzon’s office on Pitt Street to City Hall. The message will be simple and symbolic. NO TANKS
E.V. Hutcheon is a 2nd year St. Lawrence College Journalism Student. She has professionally edited a Polish history book and is hoping to see her dream and passion of writing into a career. Previously living Toronto, E.V. is now a proud Cornwall citizen. On her off time you can usually find her at home writing her latest book, or walking along the St Lawrence River.