GUELPH/ERAMOSA - Council has decided to move forward with the proposed rezoning of the controversial Minus Forty fridge and freezer manufacturing plant.
County of Wellington planners recommended the Township of Guelph/Eramosa rezone around 26 acres at 5063 Jones Baseline, between Guelph and Rockwood, from agricultural land to rural industrial, as requested by Minus Forty.
At Monday's meeting, council voted 4-1 in favour of rezoning the property. Coun. Louise Marshall was the lone dissenting vote, citing noise concerns.
“It is a quiet area and this would create so much more noise and the people there don’t want that noise,” said Marshall.
The main discussion among councillors, however, were the holding provisions put on the rezoning approval. Conditions such as site plan approval, approval of proposed septic and stormwater management ponds, potential improvements to the existing municipal drain, improvements to Jones Baseline and the completion of additional test wells and water monitoring on site are all conditions of the rezoning approval.
Coun. Mark Bouwmeester addressed the concerns with regards to the proposed septic, stormwater and additional test wells.
“I want to elaborate some of the holding provision conditions. There have been concerns about the septic system and how that relates to individual wells; whether the test wells will have an impact on the existing domestic wells,” said Bouwmeester.
Kyle Davis, risk management official for the Wellington Source Water Protection, noted that in regards to the ministry approval of the septic system and the stormwater facility, they would have to be approved by the Ministry of Environment in Toronto.
“Some of those conditions that have already been discussed a little bit was the requirement for the groundwater in wells and to ensure that contaminants are not migrating off-sight and impacting private wells,” said Davis.
“The provincial Ministry of Environment has a local office in Guelph and they do inspections of those facilities that have private wells and the local water septic system and the stormwater facilities.”
David Hopkins, a hydrogeologist for R.J. Burnside & Associates Ltd., also explained that the two wells on site that many have expressed concerns about are already contaminated.
“The Ontario guidelines for nitrate and drinking water is 10 milligrams per litre and two of the wells are already above 10,” said Hopkins. “And that’s because of current activities in the area. There’s also elevated levels of chlorine on the site. I think people need to keep that in mind when looking for impacts on the site that the environment can affect the water activities in that area. It will not necessarily come from the facility.”
Bouwmeester explained that he’s not opposed to the site plan and has no problems with it, so long as the manufacturing plant collaborates with the residents.
Meanwhile, coun. Corey Woods’ main concern is the site plan and that the ditches in the road must be fixed.
“It seems reasonable to me that they can build a factory here,” said Woods. “However, until the road is improved the holding provision will not come off.”
Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com