Council split defeats rezoning application for warehouse development

·3 min read

A rezoning bylaw to allow Ed Seguin and Sons Ltd. to expand its industrial operations on Villeneuve Court was defeated by a split vote at West Nipissing council, Tuesday.

Council had approved the sale of about 3.5 acres of vacant municipal land between Seguin's existing industrial building and residential property owners to the south, pending the rezoning approval. The agreed purchase amount was for about $100,000.

Ed Seguin and Sons Ltd. Villeneuve Court Industrial Sector Presentation

Residents of Bay Road, Delorme Road and Villeneuve Court Presentation

Currently zoned residential but designated as employment land in the Official Plan, the proposal would change it to allow light industrial use (M1 rezoning). The company proposed building a large warehouse for cold storage expansion opportunities.

Residents of Bay Road, Delorme Road and Villeneuve Court banded together in opposition, claiming water drainage issues have been caused by the company and its recent move to store more equipment on existing is already reducing property enjoyment and re-sale values. Mixing in more industrial in a “historic” residential area so close to the Sturgeon River doesn’t make sense, they said.

The planning advisory committee recommended the rezoning application with emphasis that the site plan control agreement would force the company to address the water drainage issues. A 15-metre vegetative buffer would have been required as well, to shield sight and sound somewhat from the back yard of the Villeneuve Court residents. If the rezoning was approved, residents said that was inadequate depth even if there were mature trees existing.

Councillors Chris Fisher, Roland Larabie, Leo Mallette and Dan Roveda voted against the rezoning application with Mayor Joanne Savage and councillors Yvon Duhaime, Lise Senecal and Denis Senecal in support. It's the same split on council that has stalled replacing a council member who resigned in July.

“Yes, the water is backing up in their yards…this is an opportunity fix that,” Duhaime said.

Councillor Denis Senecal said he didn’t see a problem with mixing additional industrial beside the residential zone.

Councillor Lise Senecal noted the industrial park approval for the official plan in 2011 should have given residents the expectation of development within the employment area.

“I really don’t get it,” she said. “They are concerned but I don’t think it will affect them very much. We may as well say we’re shutting down business in West Nipissing.”

Councillor Fisher said his review of satellite images of the area illustrate the clash of uses and existing environmental impacts.

“I’m a hard no, there’s too many concerns (by residents being raised,” he said, noting the rezoning opens up the door to potential larger conflicts if the use changes and then it’s “out of our hands.”

Larabie said he “feels for the people living there.”

Roveda, who joined Fisher with voting against the rezoning at the planning board meeting, said the other members are “not listening” to the residents who are “very worried and anxious” about the issue.

“We have to respect quality of life takes precedence over economy (sometimes),” he said.

Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,