Save Picton Bay

Origins

Autumn 2015.  PEC residents Bob Bird, Dave Sutherland, Dave Mackay and Larry Richardson approached County Council to support Anne Taylor and Mike Hymus, whose homes are both adjacent to the Picton Terminals site on White Chapel Road. The Hymus pond had suffered severe damage from salt contamination, and Anne Taylor faced dust and noise well above permissible levels.  Later this informal group addressed Council to oppose it granting Picton Terminals an exemption to the County noise by-law.

Spring 2016.  Witnessing PT’s explosive demolition of the Hallowell Cove cliff face, more than 20 neighbours and allies, including Victor Lind and Libby Crombie, joined the originals to form Save Picton Bay.  Its primary role: to investigate the port operation’s growing impacts, and to lobby Council for a more balanced approach to protect the public interest.

November 26, 2016.  Save Picton Bay held its first Town Hall meeting and fundraiser.  More than 120 residents attended.  Since then, SPB has continued to grow. Then Save Picton Bay incorporated as a not-for-profit citizens’ organization.

 

Goals

Ensure good stewardship of Picton Bay, PEC and Community by advocating for a safe clean environment. We will strongly advocate for Picton Bay water quality through the elimination and prevention of negative environmental impacts. We support the protection of PEC tourism and a safe and responsible port to ship PEC agriculture products and aggregates.

We support a business that:

  • Respects the environment
  • Obeys the laws and by-laws
  • Does not overtax infrastructure
  • Is an asset to local agriculture and businesses
  • Is compatible with the other uses of Picton Bay
  • Respects the importance of tourism in the PEC economy
Issues / Concerns
  • The March 2017 barge incident (Picton Bay: a life story) is a sharp reminder of the potential risks from fuel and fuel spills, as are countless other larger spills that continue to poison rivers, lakes and ocean inlets across the continent, and the globe.
  • If the Picton water filtration plant’s new intake were to be located at the originally proposed site deeper in Picton Bay, Picton Terminals may lie within the legally mandated Intake Protection Zone. If the two are incompatible, and the port took precedence, opting for the proposed Wellington intake site would cost an estimated additional $14 million.  Who will pay?
  • A traffic of large ships with deep propellers into and out of the port could stir up long-accumulated sediments on the bay floor, including mercury and other heavy metals.
  • The dumping of ballast bilges can release invasive species, as happened with the zebra mussel, sea lamprey, round goby and others. All have profound, costly impacts.
  • A draft vision for Picton Harbour is currently in the works at PEC Council, to develop the harbour into ‘a key asset’ for County tourism. Can a vibrant, healthy harbor co-exist with a busy industrial port?  What protections need to be in place?
  • Since railway links no longer exist, port operations will generate a major increase in heavy truck traffic on County roads, especially #49 which is already in poor condition, and on the Quinte Skyway Bridge between PEC and the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, which faces a major reconstruction. Who will pay?

In Canada, ports and harbours are regulated by a blur of agencies at the municipal, regional, provincial and federal levels.  In theory, overlapping jurisdiction should ensure effective protection of the environment and the public interest.  But it can also allow major lapses in responsibility.  Vigilance and action by concerned citizens remain crucial for a healthy Picton Bay and all who depend on it

Looking Ahead
  • After decades of accumulating garbage, Picton’s former municipal dump was closed in 1979, covered with earth, and turned into the town’s largest park, Delhi Park. Storm-water from the valley currently drains, untreated, into Marsh Creek and then into Picton Bay.  In February 2017, an Environmental Assessment concluded that for remediation to proceed, an underground oil and grit separator unit should be installed in conjunction with a wet pond at two existing locations in the park.
  • In February 2017, a Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change order was drafted regarding contaminants identified on the McFarland Drive site of the former Proctor-Silex housewares factory. Manufacturing ended at the site in the mid-1970s; it is currently operated by Hamilton Beach as a distribution centre and warehouse.  The MOECC order calls for preventative measures to remediate the contaminants, which include various toxic hydrocarbons, ethylenes and metals.  These are believed at risk of leaching into the groundwater, and into Picton Bay.