While South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds is getting an earful from a certain group of people about the proposed grain terminal for the Universal Dock, located along Lakeshore Drive in South Dundas, he too is looking at the proposed project for its broader benefit.
“As mayor, I’m looking at this as an opportunity to have a new business come to South Dundas,” he says.
“Looking at this from an economic development point of view, it’s a potential business that will generate revenue,” he added.
While he acknowledges that much of that revenue will go into the pockets of those in the agricultural community, there too will be some job creation.
The company building the terminal is also a member of the Stormont Dundas and Glengarry business community.
“What this will do is provide a new market for agricultural products,” says Byvelds, who is a farmer.
As a farmer, he confirms that there is a need for such an outlet for agriculture commodities.
“The reality is that we can’t use all the product that is made here and storage is an issue, so exporting makes sense,” he said.
He explained that there are some relatively local outlets for product but during the busy harvest season there is a significant bottleneck.
“Adding another outlet provides competition. And, competition is good for the industry. More competition tends to increase prices and that in turn brings more dollars into our local economy,” he added.
The building permit application is still in front of South Dundas’ building officials.
South Dundas Chief Building Officer Don Lewis, with the help of a peer review, has determined that the proposed terminal does meet the existing zoning requirements, however a building permit has not yet been issued.
While there is a process to obtaining a building permit, building permit issues are not a council matter.
“In the end, if it meets applicable law, it can proceed,” said Byvelds. Lewis said the same.
Building permit issues only become a council matter if a zoning bylaw amendment is required.
No zoning amendment is needed for this grain terminal project.
Byvelds acknowledges that people have alleged that his participating in voting on the matter could be seen as a conflict of interest. However, since building permits are not a council matter, and do not require a council vote, he has no conflict.
Mayor Byvelds has offered those opposed to the grain terminal the opportunity to make a presentation to South Dundas council as a delegation at the July 16 meeting.