An invitation to support “Save Picton Bay”

Citizen’s group Save Picton Bay calls for public donations to continue water protection mission in Prince Edward County

Concerned PEC residents aim to raise $100,000 to protect the environment and community

TORONTO: September 4, 2018 – Citizen’s group Save Picton Bay announced the launch of a GoFundMe campaign today in an effort to raise $100,000 to continue their water protection mission in Prince EdwardCounty.

The not-for-profit group of local citizens made strides recently when they took shipping business Picton Terminals to court following a toxic petcoke contamination of a residential property and thousands of tonnes of road salt leaching into Picton Bay. Save Picton Bay also challenged The Corporation of Prince Edward County on the interpretation of the zoning bylaws for Picton Terminals’ property.

Although the judge ruled Picton Terminals must cease industrial use of a portion of its land due to its Rural Residential zoning, the ruling allowed Picton Terminals to continue using its main property to transship bulk goods without restriction.

“ Our client is asking for public support in order to appeal the decision. Our client’s goal is to end the pollution caused by Picton Terminals, who aapear to continue to disregard Provincial and Federal regulations,” said Eric Gillespie, lawyer representing Save Picton Bay.

While Picton Terminals contends that garbage transshipping is “off the table”, they show biomass as one of the possible goods to be stored or shipped in the future. Save Picton Bay maintains that garbage or biomass, along with petrochemicals, liquid fertilizers and other harmful materials, could destroy Picton Bay if managed improperly and allowed to enter the water or air.

Ultimately, Picton Terminals has demonstrated an inability to handle toxic materials that are hazardous if accidentally spilled into the Bay:
• The company had a barge sinking and oil spill, which shut down the County’s water system for 10 days in the spring of 2017.

• The company was charged by The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) for improper handling of Petroleum Coke (Petcoke), which led to contamination of a nearby home.

• The company has received several Minister’s Orders by the MOECC and one by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) for improper discharging and storage of road salt, as well as for depositing Aluminum, Chloride, Iron and Cyanide in excess of the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for Protection of Aquatic Life into Picton Bay.

• Files entered into evidence during the Court proceedings show Picton Terminals’ experts admitting that approximately 11,000 tons of salt has been lost, presumably into Picton Bay, in the five years Picton Terminals has operated the site.

Save Picton Bay’s objective is not to stop an industry or deny hard-working people their livelihood, but rather ensure that private business is properly regulated for the safety and well-being of the environment and citizens of Prince Edward County. Save Picton Bay is a not-for-profit group made up of ordinary citizens from all walks of life, whose concerns is solely water quality for County drinking, recreation, tourism and commerce.

For more information please visit: savepictonbay.ca

Available for interviews:

David Mackay, Save Picton Bay member

*Eric Gillespie, lawyer representing Save Picton Bay

For media inquiries please contact:

Duet Public Relations

Jennifer Love | T: 416-271-5477

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Superior Court Hearing in Belleville

Superior Court Hearing in Belleville

To all Save Picton Bay Supporters,
The ice, snow and sleet did not stop the Court Hearing in Belleville two days ago, and approx. 30 SPB supporters made the trip in to show the Judge how important this is to our Community, and the Judge noted that he is well aware of this in his closing remarks.

Recap
As many know, this case centers around the rights that Picton Terminals (PT) may or may not have legally to use their site to run a maritime dock and transship industrial material in / out by ship and truck. PT has stated that they would like to ship all manner of goods from rock (which they do currently to Amherst Island for the wind turbine project) to petro-chemicals, salt, garbage, steel etc. They have also previously stated that they want this to be one of the largest shipping docks on the Great Lakes! So it is essentially a land use issue with wider implications for the Community at large and the environment.

The current 2006 Zoning limits the site to a quarry excavation operation. No mention of a dock, no mention of shipping bulk goods.

PT argues that they are ‘grandfathered’ by virtue that when the 2006 Zoning was changed to limit this property’s use to a Quarry, they (or their predecessors) had already been using the site to transship salt. In addition, they argue, that because they are not a quarry (even though they have been blasting, excavating and creating dust and noise) they are exempt from being regulated under pits and quarry regulations because they are improving a ‘dock’.

Court Case
So, with your ongoing financial help, we have been forced to take the County to Court to ask a Judge to interpret this Zoning By-law since the County Council refused to enforce their Zoning and has stood steadfastly behind PT.

SPB has argued that the transshipment language in the old Zoning before amalgamation was meant to apply to the previous Iron Ore development ; and that PT is using the site illegally. Even if transshipment is considered a standalone use, the very nature and intensity they are putting this site to now is vastly magnified from that contemplated decades ago.

There appears to be three main issues to be decided here. The first is whether or not PT can use this site as a shipping port and if so, for what material. PT has on their website that they want to ship all manner of things including Biomass (read garbage!). The Judge will now grapple with the implied intent of Council decades ago and if he agrees to this, it is possible it will be limited to the grandfathered shipping of Road Salt.

The second issue is the size of the Industrial Use and the fact that PT expanded the previous operation to a neighbouring parcel they own which until recently had an old farmhouse on it and is zoned Rural Residential. It is hoped that the Judge will rule in our favour that this is totally offside; notwithstanding that they have stripped and excavated most of the property as if it were a quarry.

The third, and perhaps most important issue is the impact that PT has had on the neighbours, the community at large and the environment both in terms of the contamination to the water table and to the fishery and drinking water reservoir of Picton Bay. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in a similar case that if you have a ‘grandfathered’ land use (ie. you are allowed to continue a use even if the Zoning changes) you lose that permission if the scale and impact on the Community changes to a point where it no longer resembles the original use. Our lawyer did an admirable job trying to convince the Judge that with 3 Provincial/Federal Environment Orders to clean up their act in the last 2 years; strong evidence of ground water contamination of sodium chloride and of lethal impact to the fish habitat and obvious threats to Picton’s drinking water with the barge sinking and shut down of the water system a year ago, this would meet the test that their expansion plans should not be allowed.

We expect his ruling within the next several weeks.