Delighted to report that instead of a lump of coal ( or salt ) , Father Christmas has delivered a very positive settlement between Save Picton Bay ( SPB ), Picton Terminals ( PT ) and Prince Edward County ( PEC ) ; as well as a clean SPB balance sheet going forward into 2020 and beyond.
The Directors and Steering Committee of Save Picton Bay would like to thank you for your generous financial support and encouragement of our mission.
The past 60 months brought many moving legal, regulatory, political and environmental parts to our efforts and we wanted to provide some background in relation to the last 15.
Remembering the original idea of a super port , supported by PEC’s previous Council and propagated by PT, not withstanding the lack of immediately adjacent navigational access to Lake Ontario; the absence of a rail link; the fragility of Picton Bay; the decrepit state of HWY 49; the excessive salt runoff into the Bay ; the oil spill and threat to our drinking water, we realized 15 months ago that in spite of our best efforts, SPB was making zero headway with the then Municipal Government and even less with the regulatory authorities.
Accordingly we decided to ramp up a communication plan with the candidates for the 2018 PEC County Council as well as the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks; Fisheries and Oceans and Quinte Conservation as well as Todd Smith and Neil Ellis.
As delighted as we were with the changing environmental sensitivities of the new Council, we were forced in early 2019 to launch a “ bad faith “ lawsuit against both PEC Council and their solicitors at the same time as we applied for Leave to Appeal the Superior Court decision of June 2018.
Counsellor John Hirsch proved a valuable back channel communication link with Mayor Steve Ferguson and PEC Council, as the above actions finally gained SPB some gravitas.
Our concern with the Appeal was that we could either lose ( again ) or even if we won – PT would simply have then submitted the same rezoning application that is currently underway which SPB would have had minimal ability to impact and without the gains contemplated by a settlement negotiation outlined below.
After much consideration and on the advice of our legal counsel we entered into a settlement negotiation with PEC Council and PT with the final result being:
– PT agree not to use the property for storage of liquid fertilizer
– PT agrees not to alter their rezoning application to include uses associated with Waste Disposal
– All salt deliveries must be stored in a permanently closed facility
– the $40,000 awarded PT vs SPB in the June 18th Court decision was negated
– SPB agreed to not pursue the above referred legal actions nor contest the rezoning application
As you no doubt know, all parties to a legal settlement discussion are prohibited from any public discussion; a requirement strongly underlined on the advice of Eric Gillespie; which forced we, the SPB Board to alone make our best settlement judgement.
The settlement precludes SPB from opposing the rezoning application; but fortunately, something that does not reflect on the balance sheet is the now informed attitude of PEC Council ; the Regulatory authorities and a good number of County citizens (1,115 SPB Facebook members ) who donated almost $150,000 in a collective awareness of the need to monitor the activities of PT.
An indication of this public engagement were the 59 submissions made by private citizens during the first of PEC Council’s public meetings in relation to the rezoning application, which ran 92% in support of our concerns.
Going forward SPB will continue to monitor the various threats to the Bay unencumbered by outstanding legal fees which exceeded $190,000; but which have been settled in full with Eric Gillespie providing a generous discount and a strong interest in remaining as SPB’s Counsel ahead.
Your support was instrumental in this result and we are indebted to your sense of community leadership. Please accept our sincere appreciation for your generous spirit, knowing that all of us are better together monitoring threats to the Bay ahead.
The Board of Save Picton Bay,
Bob Bird, Brian Etherington, Victor Lind, Wendy Murphy, Dave Sutherland
The Steering Committee of Save Picton Bay,
Michael Birch, Libby Crombie, Kirsteen Etherington, Dave MacKay, Deb Reddon, Anne Taylor, Jack Vanderholst, Gary Whitfield