Chem Chem Tank Rally For Monday April 14 before City Council Meeting in Cornwall Ontario

Chuck NO TANKSCORNWALL Ontario – There has been one consistent public message in Cornwall Ontario since December 2013, and that the community wishes to not have chemical tanks on our waterfront and in particular the ones on the Trillium Distribution Inc. site.

While there are varied responses, that’s the common theme.   That message seems to have fallen on deaf ears as the tanks are full steam ahead as this writer has expected since day one.

Mark A MacDonald, a former councilor running again this term, was painting the shack he put up at the site Pink and stating that the Federal government is “Bullying” our community.

While great for picking up headlines there clearly is only one villain in this story, but what’s incredulous is that Mr. MacDonald, Chuck Charlebois, the Chamber and many of the key protesters and council refuse to publicly demand an answer to the very very clear question.

Way back in December Transport Canada gave CFN the exclusive statement below in response to our query:

The tenant provided detailed information regarding proposed activities for this commercial operation at this port facility to the City of Cornwall.  Specifically, Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc. advised Transport Canada that they first contacted the City of Cornwall in February 2013, and that, among other discussions with the City, Trillium Distribution Cornwall Inc. also provided details of the project plan to the City of Cornwall in June 2013.

Mayor Kilger, not on behalf of council, issued a press release via City Hall shortly thereafter:

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. 

That magic part of the statement; which is quite damning to itself is quite clear.

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.

Again, this isn’t some journalist making something up.  These are Bob Kilger’s own words, in his own press release, issued by the City of Cornwall via the Economic Development team.

So why has council refused to call that Mayor on his release in open council?  Why has City Hall refused to answer that very question?    Why isn’t Chuck Charlebois or Mark A MacDonald asking that question instead of painting outhouses pink and calling the Federal government “bullies” which they may be; but in this case clearly are not?

And where are the other media in covering this very point and issue?    Mr. MacDonald may be getting headlines, and creating some awareness, but surely if the people of Cornwall had known before the tanks where in the ground there’d be a much better chance that they would not be now?  Surely any possible costs for breaking of a lease that didn’t involve the cost of construction would cost less to break?

So that brings us to the dark and more sinister questions of why the cover up; as this surely is a cover up at City Hall?  Like any good writer you always have to follow the money.   So far that’s a bit more difficult to do; but what we do know is that until Mayor Kilger and council answer these very basic questions the nasty is on.

I’m calling a rally in front of City Hall (340 Pitt Street) at the next council meeting, Monday April 14th, 2014 at 6:45 PM.  Spring is in bloom so the weather should be nice.      If people really do care about this issue this is the time to make a show and all to come together for the cause.   No grand standing; no strangeness.      This should just be about tax payers not wanting their waterfront jigged without having their say.

I invite everyone that has led the cause in some way; the Chamber of Commerce, Chuck, Mark, Todd, those great guys from Akwesasne that showed up at my first rally with their flag on the pick up truck; everyone that can be impacted by a leak of Calcium Chloride into our narrow waterway or those that don’t want multiple trucks next to a little league ball park and condos.

It’s time for people to make their statement.  And it’s time for Monday night for either Andre Rivette, Maurice Dupelle, Gerry Samson, or one of the other Councilors to ask Bob what the heck happened in open council.   The people want answers.  The people deserve answers.  It’s after all, our future; not just a few back door hustlers.

Former Mayor Phil Poirier who just passed away talked about the tanks in his last public video interview.  He hits all  the key points clearly; why can’t our council?  Phil clearly didn’t want the tanks and wanted answers to questions and actions taken.  In his memory we should be taking a stand and demanding the truth.

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  1. Jamie,

    People who love & care for our Waterfront, lost a true champion on Tuesday, when former Mayor Poirier passed.
    His unwavering positions & directions, when he was in Office have layed the ground-work for what we presently enjoy to-day !
    This present fiasco, with the tanks, would of never taken place on Phil’s watch, (IMO) !

  2. The facts as presented are quite clear, Kevin Pollard from
    Trillium in June/2013 contacted the City of Cornwall and
    told them that Transport Canada had agreed to enter into
    a lease. What more would Economic Development need to sound
    an alarm and pass a message on to investigate further? Was
    that done or not or was Mayor Kilger in favor of that project going ahead all the time? Sounds like a cover up
    to me either way. Mayor Kilger is now attempting a partnership deal which could require giving up 50% of our
    Water front land at the port. This could turn out to be very costly idea which we can ill afford.
    Thanks to CFN and to you Jamie for telling it like it is

  3. To play Devil’s advocate – – – – the days of commercial operations may not be over. Recognition of that possibility may have resulted in a high-ranking Cornwall official not opposing the installation of chemical tanks near the docks.

    Another commercial possibility at the docks – – – – changes in international ship transport could result in a wider variety of vessels that may include barges, carrying shipping containers up the St Lawrence River, including possible future deliveries of containers to the Cornwall docks, for transfer to trucks that carry the containers to the industrial park.

    During warm weather, most of the people activity along the waterfront occurs to between the Cornwall Marina and the international bridge . . . . and there is a heel of a problem with goose droppings along the waterfront.

  4. “Why isn’t Chuck Charlebois or Mark A MacDonald asking that question instead of painting outhouses pink and calling the Federal government “bullies” which they may be; but in this case clearly are not?’ –

    Because the Trillium Distribution Inc. has always been within their rights as a company legally,and the City’s Economic Development members have known and did approve the building of the tanks from the start. Now the million dollar question – how much did the Mayor know or did not know? But being the Mayor, the one in charge, whether or not he is responsible either for not knowing, or playing dumb about it, he is still the one to blame. The buck stops at the top!

    PS – painting the shed pink was a brilliant political tactic. Got Pink Panthers sympathy, that’s about it!

  5. Stop the presses, I agree with Pastor Tom. Trillium has a valid contract. But it’s all moot points now, the tanks should be completed by the end of next week.

    But painting the “cabane” pink was just plain stupid. Mark MacDonald started to turn his whole protest into a 3-ring circus.

  6. Of interest, the Federal Government transferred ownership and control of the Port of Prescott at Johnstown to the Township of Cardinal-Edwardsburgh . . . . and grain transfer operations continue at that port. With regard to having chemical tanks close to the docks, tanker-barges do carry liquid bulk along the American inland waterway system . . . and could carry chemicals to/from the chem-tanks at Cornwall. Maritime is the cheapest way to transport massive bulk tonnage and large storage tanks will carry Trillium’s operations through the 3-month annual Seaway closure.

    One branch of Transport Canada indirectly released some information that they were examining the merits of expanded tug-barge operations between the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Great Lakes. Tug barges do operate on the Upper Great Lakes . . . a tug pushing and navigating a barge. There is definitely a market for tug-barges to carry bulk cargo and containers to/from Cornwall . . . . so despite a temporary closure, the docks at Cornwall may actually have future commercial application.

  7. With those tanks in the ground you can kiss the parkland goodbye. Of course Bare Ass knew all about it or at least had enough information on what is going to happen since he is the chief honcho and should know what is going on in Cornwall. Nobody can be that dumb not to know. Jamie exposed what is going on around town and he has a burr under their keesters and they are upset because he tells the real news and not some stupidity like the toilet paper of record – SF and its junior subsidy Seaway News. Jamie is their competitor and is in the top. As for painting an outhouse pink – WOW – that might be the color exposing what that chemical becomes like on the streets for the ice and snow. I slipped on that crap coming out of a building where we used to live down the ways at the back door. Now I see why they painted it pink. One thing is that people would not miss where that cabin would have been for the meeting. I hope to see videos on that on Monday. I can say that I will be there in spirit.

  8. Mark MacDonald wants to appear before city council on Monday and has been told no, as the agenda has already been drawn up and no delegations, etc. are on the agenda. He complains that the city is imposing rules on him now. As a former city councillor he should know how city hall works. These “rules” should not be a surprise to him.

  9. If we go back many decades in Cornwall’s history, the old Street Railway, Light and Power company built St Lawrence Park . . . and street-car rail tracks for the street-cars to carry hordes of people to and from the park. And for many decades, St Lawrence Park was popular and it was big enough for the people of Cornwall.

    The river inlet on the east side of St Lawrence College is all that is left of St Lawrence Park. An inlet pipe from the river could divert a flow of freshwater into the inner end of that inlet . . . to continually push out the stagnant water so the kids would have cleaner water in which to frolic. Except that the neighbours would likely be in an uproar if hordes of kids started showing up at that inlet to splash around in the less stagnant water . . . Heaven forbid, they may turn the place into a beach, which it once was many decades ago.

    Now to again play devil’s advocate: The residents who live on race street have a view of Cornwall Marina and Civic Complex . . . the chem tanks are at a great distance . . . for many years, they actually had a view of tanks in their field of vision. Residents of the new units on Race Street East, William Street and Cotton Mill Street will have a view of the river . . . . with the chem tanks being at a distance.


    Given that the street-car company built a park, it may be possible for a private developer to borrow precedent from Dubai and build an island along Cornwall’s waterfront, between St Lawrence College and Pilon Island . . . . it would be outside of the jurisdiction of both the City of Cornwall and Raisin River Authority. If the Mohawk council were willing, such an island could become a very attractive waterfront area

  10. Great idea Harry Valentine. But building an island I think would be cost prohibitive. I think the best we can hope for now that the tanks are nearing completion is that the area be esthetically pleasing.

  11. Hugger1 . . . . . perhaps Trillium could invite in some artists to paint something pretty and attractive on the tanks.

  12. Harry Valentine…we can hope, we can hope. I read somewhere that there will be very little of the tanks above ground, which is good in a esthetically pleasing way.

  13. Hugger1 . . . . . if very little of the tanks will be above ground, then most of the tanks will be underground. Many of the newer tanks at gasoline stations are either lined with plastic or are made from corrosion-resistant metal alloy. If Trillium’s tanks are corrosion-resistant and mostly below ground, that would solve an environmental concern and perhaps allow for options to make the area around the tanks more aesthetically attractive.

    Perhaps buried tanks or covered tanks may be an option . . . tanks with domed roofs that may then be covered with soil that may support lawn growth. So the protest may eventually be about lawn-covered mounds near the Cornwall docks.

  14. @Harry Valentine….I guess we`ll see in the days, weeks and months ahead.

  15. If corrosion-resistant tanks hold large volumes of calcium chloride near Cornwall’s docks, there will be a low transportation cost bringing in the chemical by tanker barge . . . MUCH cheaper than truck or rail. Underwater pipelines do carry oil and natural gas across the North Sea and areas of the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas. It may be possible to install short distances of underwater pipelines between the chem tanks and transfer points located near the international bridge, intersection of Boundary and Montreal Roads, possibly also at the south end of Summerstown Road . . . with the possible option of connecting (buried) pipelines going north Boundary and Summerstown Roads to a point near Hwy 401.

    Another possibility is that mini-tanker-barges could float loads of chemical to a nearby transfer point . . . to be loaded on to tanker trucks. Except that the underwater pipeline option may be more viable.

    If there is a pipeline option, it may have been possible to moor a tanker barge near the intersection of Boundary and Montreal Roads (or near Summerstown Road and old Hwy2), to pump the chemical north to storage tanks located near Hwy 401. Except that the Summerstown Road involves greater distance.

    If tanker trucks are going to be showing up at the Cornwall docks to load calcium chloride, they may have do so during off-peak hours and at very low frequency of departure (one tanker truck per hour, or maybe 4-trucks per day).

    Perhaps the chem tanks are NOT going into the business park for the same or similiar reason as to why the debacle of the proposed wood pellet plant never went into the business park (not to mention the debacle of the proposed ethanol plant).

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