LETTER: Rezoning reflects lack of environmental awareness

The proposed zoning by-law amendment regarding Picton Terminals represents an enormous change to both the uses permitted and the real impact on the Town of Picton, the County, and the local residents.

It also reflects a lack of environmental awareness. I am requesting our elected officials reject the proposal in light of current concerns:

i) Picton Terminals is already refusing to comply with portions of the existing orders resulting in ongoing Ministry of the Environment investigations.

ii) Picton’s water supply may be substantially affected by ship traffic disturbing the Bay. We already know how much it cost the Town the last time marine operations at Picton Terminals impacted the water works.

iii) The County is already analyzing the cost-benefit of the 2020 growth in tourist traffic – Why would we support another tourist venue in advance of those deliberations?

iv) Container cargo shipping is productive in large ports with on-site facilities such as cranes, rail systems and road networks, and a navigable waterway sufficient to ensure safe passage of ships and adequate anchorages when the weather goes extreme.

This is not a description of Picton Bay. Can any member of our Council confidently state that Cruise Ships with the requirement to either bus or boat passengers into Picton and then throughout the County will not lead to further traffic congestion or to an unmanageable number of commercial tenders in what is a very modest-sized harbour with ongoing development already underway?

Picton Terminals is planning a 24/7 operation with attendant lighting and noise and related environmental degradation. Council has already recognized that quality of life must be a consideration in its recent direction to staff. Picton Terminals use of the 1960 and 1976 photos to highlight the port activities is an outright scam given the lack of such activity for decades. Their advertising for customers and clients is well underway – how are we to reconcile that with the theoretically independent review by Staff and our Council?

Finally, Picton Terminals is currently the dual beneficiary of modest real property taxes and the absence of any extraction charges for the excavated rock being sold.

Mining and Oil companies would kill for that sort of deal – so where is the County’s gain in all of this?

Richard Armour

Prince Edward County