“This can’t just be a popularity contest. We have to look at the legalities.”
With that statement, Mayor Dave Barton kicked off Monday’s council
discussion of responses to an application by Grainboys Inc. for a zoning
bylaw amendment to allow them to build a large grain-cleaning facility
close to Goodwood.
Noting there were 33 letters from residents on the agenda – 31
against the proposal and two in favour – Chief Administrative Officer
Ingrid Svelnis said council has to focus on the zoning.
“We have to focus on whether a grain mill is appropriate for that property,” she said.
She said that questions asked in the letters received would be posted
on the township’s website, as well as be forwarded to Grainboys for
answers. She noted there were not a lot of questions in the letters and
“Grainboys doesn’t have to respond to statements.”
Since next Monday’s council meeting has been cancelled, council
agreed that the Feb. 4 meeting would be held at night so that the public
could attend, However, in a lengthy discussion on the timing of
handling the issue, it was noted that a report from township planning
consultant Elizabeth Howson is not expected until the end of this month.
Given that planning committee chair Gord Highet had promised the public
would have ample time to study that report, council agreed to come to a
final decision on the Grainboys application at a night meeting on Feb.
The letters council received resulted from a meeting held at the
Goodwood community hall a week ago, which was attended by over 80
people, most of whom were strongly against the proposal.
Conrad Richter, whose business, Richter’s Herbs is adjacent to the
proposed Grainboys site, encouraged everyone present to write to
council, noting they had only 17 hours to do so. He suggested some of
the concerns they might want to take issue with were noise, dust,
pesticide use and air pollution. To that end, former councillor Bev
Northeast had a number of pre-written letters for people to sign.
During the evening, one man wondered why the Grainboys operation
couldn’t be situated in a worked-out gravel pit. Another, a former
planning chair in York Region, said arguing against increased truck
traffic was “barking up the wrong tree.” He said more would be
accomplished by concentrating on the operation’s visual impact. The
proposed mill would have 18 silos, each 60 feet tall.
Yet a third argued that, if council approved the application, residents should start a class action suit.
“That will stall it about eight years and they’ll lose interest,” he said.
Resident June Davies suggested that Goodwood residents take their children with them when council revisits the proposal.
“It’s their future that will be affected,” she said.