By Darren Lum
Opposition to a proposed salvage yard south of Minden is growing.
Only days after a Minden Hills Council meeting where Hunter Creek Estates residents and members of the Gull Lake Cottage Association protested the application for a site-specific zoning amendment to permit the operation of a salvage yard close to 60 people came together at the Minden Legion to discuss their feelings about a salvage yard and the options on how to fight against the proposal they believe will harm them in the long run.
Carol Bloor who suffers from a variety of ailments from respiratory challenges to scoliosis believes the salvage yard will produce harmful fumes and is a threat to her diminishing health and her community.
“Do I have to relocate or go in to a home? When I can still physically help myself. No. This means a lot to me and the fumes are the fumes that will be there regardless of what loader or what they have. We all have had experiences in wrecking yards. It is not the place for it and I ask that be considered” she said.
She’s been a resident of Hunter Creek Estates for the past nine years and loves her community because of the care and support she has received from neighbours.
A lone voice in defence of the proposal at the meeting was Steve’s mother and a Hunter Creek Estate resident. She said at the end of the last council meeting the council’s planner Ian Clendening said a lot of the residents’ concerns were invalid.
With environmental concerns raised Clendening’s recommendation is for council to defer a decision until the applicants have completed an environmental impact assessment and noise study. Council has supported that recommendation.
When she was asked about why this site is ideal she listed off reasons pertaining to the readiness of the site related to its terrain and it’s proximity to Hwy. 35.
Her son she said is in consultation with an owner of a salvage yard to set up and operate his own yard correctly. She addsed he has no intention of causing environmental damage to the area as he has children and lives nearby. This was a case of a not in my backyard situation she said.
Hunter Creek resident John McNeil who has gone door-to-door with a petition to gain support and to raise awareness spoke calmly at the meeting about his reasons for the opposition to the proposal.
“We’re not here to put Steve down. We’re here to ask him to move it to a different location” he said.
The petition he said includes close to 200 signatures that includes residents of Moore’s Falls and Miners Bay.
The five-year resident of Hunter Creek who also has a father that has lived in the housing development for the past 10 years and the rest of the crowd at the meeting wanted Steve to use a site where there are not any residents or near a watershed.
“It’s your drinking water too. We’re not here to hurt you or hurt him or anybody else. We’re not. We’re here for us and for our grandkids and all of Minden” he said.
McNeil knows the site well living just down the road from it and with the numerous signs of wildlife such as deer markings and prints beaver dams and the close proximity to Hunter Creek he wonders how it will all be affected.
A day later Larry Murphy a member of the Gull Lake Cottagers Association told the Times the fight has only begun to prevent this salvage yard from getting its approval.
“We’re going to do anything we can to prove our case. The bottom line: we wish the applicant would find another spot a suitable spot” he said.
Although Murphy lives close to 14 kilometres away he is concerned with how his drinking water which he gets from the lake may be adversely affected contrary to the proposed safeguards outlined in the salvage yard proposal. He said the association will be on a “fact finding” effort now to prove their concerns are valid.
Beaver leases the property.
Down the road within a kilometre of the proposed site the owners of the property the Archer sisters Dorothy and Susan don’t share the same feelings as their neighbours in Hunter Creek Estates.
“He knows what he’s doing” Dorothy said. “I trust Steve.”
The two sisters have known Steve for 30 years and didn’t have anything bad to say about him.
“You can’t get a better neighbour than him” she said.
Dorothy who said the property has been in the family for three generations starting with her granddad recounted the many times Steve has helped them whether it was plow her driveway or fix her mailbox.
She wasn’t fully aware of all of the detailed concerns of her neighbours but is confident Steve will do what is right. And if the salvage yard doesn’t get approval?
“If it doesn’t go through it doesn’t go through. Nothing you can do about it” she said.