An Ontario Superior Court judge has ordered Picton Terminals to clean up a portion of its property.
The case against Picton Terminals was filed by a local grassroots group called “Save Picton Bay,” and was resolved just over a week ago.
According to Picton Terminals owner Ben Doornekamp, they are already in compliance with the judges order, which told Picton Terminals to clean up equipment and aggregate from the northeast portion of its property.
“He said just make sure you don’t put equipment or aggregate in that area, which we don’t,” Doornekamp told CKWS on Thursday. “We have had some conveyors stored there for a while and we moved them out of the way long before the court case.”
Dave MacKay is a member of the Save Picton Bay’s steering committee.
He says they have had environmental concerns about Picton Terminals operation for the last three or four years.
MacKay says one of the group’s major issues is a barge that sank in early 2017. The incident resulted in a a boil-water advisory for the town of Picton.
“We had a petroleum coke spill here where toxic chemicals were released into the air and contaminated property,” said MacKay. “We’ve got salt stored improperly on the docks there and you can see it staining the cliff. Tens of thousands of tonnes of salt went into the water.”
WATCH: Equipment and aggregate to be removed from a portion of Picton Terminals after court ruling
MacKay says the court’s decision was a positive step forward.
“What was happening there was not according to the by-laws of the county.”
Another part of the judge’s ruling says that Picton Terminals can continue to operate under what is called “legal non-conforming.”
Non-conforming use is generally defined as occurring when the use of land, buildings or structures are given special zoning allowances that other properties are not afforded. Essentially, it’s an allowance to an existing commercial property to function as it did before, despite the passing of new bylaw rules.
MacKay says they are less happy about that part of the decision, and that Save Picton Bay will be appealing the court’s decision.
“They have advertised in the past they would bring in such things as bio-mass, which is really garbage,” he said. Save Picton Bay is worried that with special allowances, Picton Terminals might be more apt to pollute the nearby bay.
Doornekamp says they hope to get the zoning changed to a mixed use zoning, which would reflect what the property is used for.
“We’re going to start that process again because the property should be zoned properly, it just looks better into the future.”
Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff hopes the recent court decision will mean the owners of Picton Terminals will file a site plan application.
Quaiff says that will give the county and residents a chance to have a say in what takes place at the Picton Bay terminal.
“That way we can have a conversation about what would be allowed and what wouldn’t be allowed. ”
McKay says Save Picton Bay members don’t want to shut Picton Terminals down. Rather, he says they just want the company to be good environmental stewards and neighbours.