Chem Tank Construction Continues in Cornwall Ontario as Political Infighting Doesn’t Challenge Lies from Feds & City Government by Jamie Gilcig

Canada Transport & City of Cornwall & Council Turtling as Construction Continues

Chem Tank Construction Continues in Cornwall Ontario as Political Infighting Doesn’t Challenge Lies from Feds & City Government by Jamie Gilcig

jg2Cornwall Ontario – There are now four petitions asking the Federal Government to stop construction of Chemical Tanks on the Cornwall Ontario Harbourfront.

What we know is that as early as February 2013 Economic Development; most likely Bob Peters, was contacted by parties connected to what would become Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc.

shovel waterfrontThat the city was notified of a deal on our waterfront in June and that until December naught was done or said with most on our City Council and MP claiming to not have known a peep about the details or deal.


We know that Mayor Bob Kilger straight out lied to the public about his role and knowledge.    As a matter of fact our Mayor to date still has not asked the Feds to stop construction of the tanks in spite of a clearly unanimous gathering of over 200 people last Wednesday at the Civic Complex.

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Now to be clear omission of the truth is commonly accepted as a lie.      What we have is a city administration and Federal government that are omitting much of the truth.

Apparently City Managers such as Bob Peters, Mark Boileau, Stephen Alexander, and Norm Levac neglected to officially inform council as a whole, but did communicate to the Mayor.   The mayor may have communicated to Denis Thibault & Glen Grant, but then the bigger question is why not bring this to council?  From the City’s release Friday after the merde had hit the fan on CFN’s transport Canada communication that other media picked up on after.

“The City has NOT received a sketch for the development, let alone a formal site plan, construction schedule, environmental assessment or technical drawings of any nature,” said Bob Kilger, Mayor of Cornwall. “No applications for municipal approvals (building permit, site plan approval, zoning compliance) have been received and no approvals have been given.” 

Mr. Kevin Pollard contacted the City’s Economic Development office in February 2013 to determine possible opportunities for securing existing storage tanks, or potentially building his own. Water access was not stated as being essential.  At that time he was provided information on a variety of site options, including the Cornwall Business Park, a former industrial site in the west end of the City, and a wharf in the Morrisburg area. He was alerted to the sensitivity of the Harbour Area given the neighbouring residential and recreational uses, the lack of rail, and the lack of adequate trucking routes to Highway 401. Mr. Pollard did not extend dialogue with City officials following this preliminary and exploratory contact. 

No further contact was received until June 2013 when Mr. Pollard contacted City officials on a single occasion to inform them that Transport Canada had agreed to enter into a lease. No further discussion or confirmation of the lease was ever received from Trillium or Transport Canada. No specific details, sketch or site plan was provided. The City recommended a meeting to discuss concerns regarding planning and land use issues. City officials did not provide any approval, verbal or otherwise, at any time. Mr. Pollard did not pursue further dialogue with City officials. Notwithstanding this request, the City has never met anyone from Trillium Distribution. 

No further contact was received for several months and City officials believed the project was not proceeding. Once construction was noted at the Harbour Area in late November, Mr. Pollard was contacted to determine if this activity was related to his June enquiry. Mr. Pollard confirmed that it was. In early December Mr. Pollard provided some verbal details about the number of tanks, size and expected transportation activity. Mr. Pollard acknowledged that detailed construction plans existed and had requested that Transport Canada release the drawings to the City.  The City has not received any plans of any kind from either Trillium or Transport Canada.

Now surely any professional manager would log in any communication and alert say….the CAO or council?   As important as Economic Development is having a Chem tank farm across the street from Luxury Condos that were still developing would not be a signal that would warrant silence, but in fact concern that should be brought to the CAO & Council?

Was this communication just by phone or is City Hall omitting more info?   If there were no emails why is the city refusing to provide CFN with any emails between itself and Mr. Pollard?

Surely if council was officially aware in June those six months since could’ve been spent lobbying against the project as the public clearly doesn’t want the tanks and many on council, if telling the truth, don’t want the tanks either?

The Federal government spent an awful lot of money clearing the old Kaneb tanks; and offered the harbour lands to the City; but Akwesasne Land Claims impede any sale to any party.     But the waterfront plan clearly is not industrial.

And if to reinforce why that is there was a leak of over 640,000 litres of Magnesium Chloride in Oshawa, another tank farm set up fought by a community that was implemented.   LINK

The spill occurred just after midnight as the product, which can be used to de-ice roadways, was being taken off a ship. The solution spilled onto the shoreline and into the harbour…

The solution mixed into the harbour’s water supply and cannot be extracted. The harbour opens into Lake Ontario.  It was mainly composed of water; the magnesium chloride concentration was 33 per cent.

What would happen with a similar spill in our narrow part of the river?    Plant life loss?  Habitat loss?   Fouled drinking water?    This in a community that has spent a generation trying to clean up our section of river that already has huge sediment base issues?       Where has the St. Lawrence River Institute in this debate?      Where has Environment Canada been?  What will a shell company do to repair the damages?

With Councilor Grant, and Mayor Kilger being on the Waterfront Development committee after replacing Councilor Thibault around…..June 2013 how do they not disclose this project officially to the Waterfront Development Committee as well?  The may discussed it AFTER the meeting of November 21st, but not with actual Committee members.

How much are politics hampering a coordinated battle to stop construction of these tanks?   Again, there are now four petitions.  Instead of one large one there are only a few hundred signatures here and there.     City Hall is hampering release of clear information.     CFN has sent multiple requests for information that have not been responded to.

While Transport Canada outed City Hall for communication they too have now gone silent after Minister Lisa Raitt snubbed Cornwall by not coming to the City meeting Wednesday night even though Ottawa is only about an hour away.

Hi Jamie,
Below is the response from Transport Canada to your inquiry regarding the Public Port of Cornwall:
Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc. contacted Transport Canada in early 2013.
The release of the further information that you have requested is not publicly available therefore you are welcome to submit a formal Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request, under which our records will be reviewed within the parameters of the relevant ATIP legislation.   Further questions regarding information exchanged between the tenant and the City of Cornwall should be directed to them.
Transport Canada is aware of the City of Cornwall’s news release issued on December 13, 2013. The Public Port of Cornwall is a commercial port facility. Activity currently taking place at this facility is in line with typical commercial port operations.
Silvia Di Tiero
Transport Canada, Communications Advisor
But how could Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc. have contacted the Ministry in early 2013 when it was only formed in October 2013 according to their Corporate filings which CFN paid to acquire?    And what guarantees can a shell company provide in the event of a needed clean up?  Will taxpayers have to clean up tanks again like they did with the Kaneb oil tanks?    How does the Federal government sign a ten year lease without environmental studies etc even if can legally?  Where are the sensitivity and protections for the residents and community?
CFN has asked for basic public documents, but we now have to not only face the costs of submitting these info requests at a huge potential financial cost, but more critically, the time frame before they are responded to  will hurt the truth from being shared with the public in a timely fashion.    A simple question of “what date did Transport Canada sign the lease” has not been answered?
For this community to have any chance of stopping the tanks we have to pull together.    One party contacted Chuck Charlebois about peacefully blocking the gates to the project Monday, but Mr. Charlebois refused standing on his position of  communication with the Federal government.
Sadly it looks like the bad guys will win and our economy and development of our waterfront will be retarded; maybe forever.  I mean what investor is going to want to risk their money in an area where without any following of proper assessments and zoning considerations projects can be built?  What next?  Nuclear waste storage tanks?   A new mill next to luxury condo’s?   An evening  stroll by industrial waste?
The message the public is getting is that the people of Cornwall’s voices clearly do not count in the Harper Government and that City Hall is running amok with management and the Mayor not consulting council.
So what are you going to do about this Cornwall?   The rest of the World is watching.  Will our community pull together and fight this as one voice or just get bulldozed by petty political local infighting?
We have many questions that we need our City Management, Mayor & Council, and transport Canada to answer, but mostly we need  construction to stop until those questions are answered.
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