December 18 – The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and its partners, Cornwall Waterfront Committee, Groupe Renaissance, and Le Village BIA, want an answer from Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.
“The Chamber understands that government Ministries and agencies are exempt from carrying out environmental assessments and acquiring municipal approvals on matters of building permits, site plans, zoning compliance, etc.,” states Kevin Hargreaves, President. “ That said, the Chamber and its partners are of the view that such concessions may not apply to a third party lessee or, that the concessions can be transferred to that lessee.”
The Chamber, on behalf of its partners, has sent a letter to Minister Raitt on the matter. “In the letter, we are respectfully requ
esting the Minister clarify exemptions with respect to third party lease agreements,” continues Hargreaves.
The Ministry of Transport is the owner of a small tract of land located in the City of Cornwall and more specifically, on its waterfront. It recently leased the land to a private company and allowed it to begin the construction of calcium chloride distribution tanks, contrary to the City’s Waterfront Plan and the wishes of Cornwall residents.
While there is some question as to whether the municipality was given prior notice of the project, various regulatory bodies were not, despite the fact that the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement through the International Joint Commission had declared the St. Lawrence River (Cornwall) to be an Area of Concern and a vulnerable area with respect to industrialization.
Following up on an article published, on-line in a Cornwall weekly, the Chamber spearheaded a public protest and hosted a public forum to draw attention to the issue. It will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as it acquires them.