The city of Summerside has put a temporary stop to the controversial plan to store thousands of tonnes of road salt on its waterfront.
The city issued a stop-work order to the Summerside Port Corporation Wednesday. Earlier this summer, the port struck a deal to store about 44,000 tonnes of salt in a makeshift storage depot after the provincial government said its supplier, Windsor Salt, couldn't guarantee regular shipments this winter.
Mayor Basil Stewart said that the city disagrees with claims the Port Corporation is exempt from having to apply for municipal permits given that the project is on federal land.
"According to our legal advice, it is contrary to the city bylaws and regulations to have a storage area like that there," he said. "Our lawyers and the port lawyers are trying to get it sorted out I guess. But the citizens are very concerned as well as people from the greater Summerside area."
Last month, members of the city council said they had been blindsided by the port and province on the project, adding that the facility would ruin the appearance of the harbour as well as present safety risks and raise some environmental concerns.
"All city council members, a number of them, have said that they've never gotten this many notifications from people over something," Stewart said. "We're waiting to see what happens and the legal process and whether the Department of the Environment will have to be on it."
In a written statement, Stewart said the city encouraged the Port Corporation to make the applications required for the approval "without further delay."
Two shiploads of salt were scheduled to arrive at the port later this month.