By Chad Ingram
A plan to turn a former quarry off Highway 35 south of Minden into an automotive salvage yard is getting a rough ride from some area residents.
A public meeting on the proposal which requires a site-specific zoning amendment took place Nov. 12.
Zoned extractive industrial and rural a salvage yard is a permitted land use for the property but requires a site-specific rezoning.
“Given the site’s location along Highway 35 and the surrounding industrial uses the development would be appropriate for the area” read a report from township planner Ian Clandening. “As the subject property abuts the Lutterworth Pines a higher density residential land use the side yard requirements and vegetative screening have been based on a conservative approach.”
Clandening has recommended a 100-metre vegetative buffer for the property which would also separate the salvage site from unevaluated wetlands on the property.
The proposed salvage yard would be subject to the regulations of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and applicant Steve Beaver has applied for a generator licence.
Environmental concerns were top of mind for residents opposed to the proposal.
“Our biggest concerns are environmental issues” said Trevor Chaulk whose businesses is located across the highway from the proposed location. “There’s no way to control the environmental impact.”
Larry Murphy came representing the Gull Lake Cottagers’ Association saying the association was also worried about implications of a salvage yard in the area.
“We drink and bathe in this water daily” Murphy said adding that mercury lead battery acid refrigerants and other substances could leak into the soil.
Murphy said the association would like to see the application deferred by council wanted to do its own evaluations and maybe hire legal counsel.
Verne Brinsmead told councillors an “auto graveyard” was not appropriate at the location as did Catharine Barnes who worried the land use might negatively impact property values.
“I haven’t seen an attractive scrap yard” Barnes said.
Councillor Jeanne Anthon also seemed to have concerns about the environment.
“Is it not appropriate to ask for an environmental assessment?” Anthon asked.
Reiterating the site would be subject to regulations from the MOECC Clandening said council could exercise some environmental control through a storm water management plan for the property.
While such plans typically deal with water quantity Clandening said they can also address water quality.
Anthon said she’d like to see the item postponed until council had much more information.