LETTER: Kiss beautiful County goodbye with rezoning

Dear Mr. Mayor & Council,

If Prince Edward County residents think we have problems now with traffic, parking, tourist overload, road maintenance, construction and accommodations…just wait! If we think our drinking water source and harbour environment are vulnerable now…just wait!

If Picton Terminals (PT) is granted industrial zoning throughout their property, we can kiss our beautiful County, as we know it, goodbye.

Instead, we will have a seasonal invasion of 120 cruise ships, cargo ships and tankers loading and off-loading people, containers and bulk shipments of polluting materials 24/7- not to mention the non-stop hauling of tons of material along our roads and countless busloads of tourists.

Let’s be clear. The scale of what PT wants to do poses a serious threat to our quality of life. Maybe the real objective here is to transform our island into an industrial hub to service the surrounding region. If that’s the plan, we should know about it!

It’s one thing to bring more dollars into our community. Obviously, everyone wants our businesses to thrive and our young people to have more opportunities. But at what cost? Are we willing to trade off the very things that make this island so desirable in the first place?

Most vacationers come here to escape noise, traffic, pollution, overcrowding — to enjoy the natural beauty, rural charms, farmer’s markets, vineyards, theatres and restaurants.

Are we prepared to let a huge industrial operation compromise our environment and PEC’s character? If so, why?

Possible reasons for granting PT’s re-zoning request might include: the fear of saying ’no’, for reasons (maybe legal?) yet to be explained; or an inability to envision the consequences of a ‘yes’ decision; or maybe ‘certain interests’ stand to gain so much financially it’s worth the sacrifice.

Does Council have a comprehensive plan and funding in place to accommodate such a seismic shift in our community?

In my previous letter to Council a year ago and my subsequent deposition I asked several questions about this issue. To date, I have received no answers. We taxpayers deserve clear and public explanations. Picton Terminals has no trouble getting their message out. What about your message?

If you grant the Picton Terminals’ request for re-zoning, given all the obvious risks, my questions will pale in comparison to those asked in the future if Prince Edward County is ’sold out’ to industrial interests without credible justification — questions like:

•Who risked the County’s well-being for this?

•Who is responsible for the environmental catastrophe that could ruin our harbour and drinking water?

•Who is responsible for our wrecked roads?

•Who will pay?

Your vote on this represents all of us — and our future here. If you vote in favour of the re-zoning, we deserve to know why. If you vote against it, we will know why — because it’s the logical and right thing to do.

Sincerely,

Teri Coburn

Picton