South Dundas - August 8, 2013 - Economic development is needed for communities in
Eastern Ontario, regardless of size. With aging populations, an
industrial base in flux, growing retail competition, all of these are
factors that makes development growth essential just to sustain what
we have. With every action, there are people or groups for or against
it. Sometimes people have to step back, look at the development and
take the good with the bad. Looking in at South Dundas, there are two
developments that people need to step back and look at.
South Branch Wind Farm
The Ontario Green Energy act is one of the worst pieces of legislation
enacted by the McGuinty Liberals during their reign in power at Queens
Park. The fact that the current Premier, Kathleen Wynne, has not
cancelled the legislation will ensure that no one in rural Ontario
will vote for her. The legislation is oppressive, stripping landowner
rights away, stripping away the rights for municipalities to say no to
wind farms and solar farms. The legislation is expensive, costing
Ontarians billions for an electrical generation option that currently
produces less than one per cent of all of the electricity required.
However, until the Liberals are removed from power, they are here to
stay and keep popping up on the landscape like a bad weed, which
brings us to the South Branch Wind Farm.
For a few years since it was announced, land owners in the north-end
of South Dundas have fought hard to get the proposed wind farm
cancelled. Starting this fall likely, there will be 10 to 14 turbines
spoiling the farm land. That's the bad. The good part is that in all
of this, the county and the turbine company have to agree on a fee for
hauling these over-sized fans over county roads. The fee is in the
millions. Yes, we end up paying for it as the electricity will be
bought by us, but at least some money flows back in from it. That
money will be used to help fix the roads. The other good is hopefully
when the Liberals are eventually replaced or at least the Green Energy
act repealed, there will be some local scrap metal dealers happy with
their new haul.
Grain Bins for South Dundas
The fight continues over the plan to place up to four grain bins on
riverfront industrial property between Iroquois and Morrisburg. This
land, which has been used for industrial purposed for 50-plus years
and was home to an oil storage tank farm, would see the bins be used
for storage of local farmer's crops awaiting shipment. The land has on
it a deep water dock which enables ships on the Great Lakes-St.
Lawrence Seaway to load and unload from the facility. Residents are
concerned of having these large bins there citing explosion concerns,
increased road traffic, smell and dust.
Its good for residents to be concerned, but there is a problem, which
this writer has pointed out before but it bears repeating. Most of the
houses adjacent to the Universal Terminals facilities, were built
after the oil tank farm was built. If oil tanks possibly exploding or
spilling were not a concern of the home owner locating to the area,
why is crop storage now? Land owners in the area should really just
call a spade a spade and say that they don't want bright silver bins
located on the waterfront, period. Never mind the large, gleaming
white salt pile stored on the dock there nine months of the year.
So that's the bad, but what is the good out of this development? Local
farmers are able to save on transportation costs to get their grain to
market. Farming is still a very large sector of economic activity in
South Dundas. It will create a couple of jobs, plus bring construction
workers into the area to build the facility. That's more economic
development. It using land that is underused, which means no new land
will be cleared, or farm land taken out of production. Lastly it could
be the start of further development to that economic zone.
Adjacent to the Universal Terminals property is the former Locke Truss
manufacturing plant, last home to a company that made prefab houses
for northern communities. About 50 acres of property sitting unused
since 2011, for sale and ready for development. The UTI property
itself is slightly smaller in size, and only has one oil tank left.
The other tanks were torn down in the last decade.
The property is very underused and owned by a family that has some
deep pockets. The family, the Kanebs, also own the former Canada
Cottons Mill in Cornwall, which is being developed into condos,
offices and other facilities along the St. Lawrence. A lot of money is
being generated from that development, and it needs to go somewhere.
If the residents are successful in blocking the grain bins, what could
the land be used for? Solid waste storage? Recycled paper storage?
Perhaps Alberta Oil Sands storage and shipping? After all, the
Trans-Canada pipeline that is being proposed to move Alberta bitumen
to the East Coast will come through this area. Perhaps shipping by the
Seaway is the best solution and look, there is a deep-water dock.
Compared to Oil Sands or Bio-waste storage, grain bins look like a no
brainer. So take the bad with the good. The bad is that the residents
in the surrounding area may not like four shiny tubs on the
waterfront. The good is that it spurs economic development. If there
are grain bins, there likely would not be oil or waste storage. That
means that other development to this zone would be light industrial
manufacturing or shipping. That means that businesses, including the
UTI property, would be paying property taxes on the development, water
fees, construction permit fees. All those fees, add up to residential
taxes not having to go up as much.
Something all residents can appreciate, no matter how close to the
grain bins you live.