The residents from the township of Alfred-Plantagenet (and other areas too!) showed up in large numbers tonight to voice their concerns over the building of an asphalt plant that will be in close proximity to the Jessups Falls park. There was standing room only and a police presence to ensure the safety of all (Alfred where the meeting was held, has highway 17 running through the middle of it.) Concerns over the polluting of the air and water were at the top of the list affecting everything from quality of life to protection of species at risk. Not to mention the impact on one of the two main routes between Ottawa and Montreal!
A link to a drop-box with documentation can be found under Reports in the links column.
As a consultant who commutes to Ottawa for work, one of the comments I found strange was about having to go ‘as far as Ottawa’ for asphalt. My father commuted to Ottawa every day of his work week for over 20 years. And I know many others who do as well. The plant would give out onto a major route that also boasts a high school within a few kilometers with which I know from personal experience, often has kids running across it to the nearby village. Not to mention the senior center, campground, health and wellness centers in close proximity and the dozens of cottages that ring the Jessups Falls park and the South Nation River. This area is the furthest thing you would think of when thinking of an industrial park.
The site is close to an area of Natural Scientific Interest and Species at Risk. We were assured that the plant would not affect it because there would be a “50 meter buffer” between the plant and these woodlands. This is equal to 2 lengths (one lap) of a standard size pool. Will sound respect this buffer? Will air pollutants?
Finally, the words used by the representatives of the asphalt plant says it all “the area to be exploited”. I think the 2nd Merriam-Webster dictionary definition is the most accurate for this situation: “Use (a situation or person) in an unfair or selfish way: “the company was exploiting a legal loophole”.”
To rezone an area of natural beauty, enjoyed by thousands every year, when other industrial zones are already available is completely unnecessary.
These are my opinions and impressions of the council meeting this July 16th, 2012.