The grain terminal building permit appeal of Charles Crober and Christopher Rowntree on behalf of Concerned Citizens of South Dundas has failed.
Justice Ronald M. Laliberté Jr. released his written decision on the case heard at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Cornwall December 17, 2015, on January 19, 2016.
The issue decided by the court was whether the evidence provided a basis for the rescinding of the building permit issued by the Municipality of South Dundas.
The court rejected all of the applicants’ main arguments based on the evidence presented.
Justice Laliberté agreed that the issuance of a building permit is not a land use matter to be determined by a municipal council, but by a chief building official.
He found that there is no connection between the issuance of the building permit and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
“It is the commencement of the actual construction which is subject to MOECC approval through environmental compliance approval,” he wrote. “There is no logical and rational reason why the building permit should not have been issued in the matter prior to the Environmental Compliance. The reality is that the project will not go forward until such approval from the Provincial authority entrusted with ensuring compliance with environmental rules.”
Regarding the issue of whether or not the proposed project fits within the property’s zoning, the court came to the conclusion that the applicants did not meet their onus of proof.
“While one may or may not share the CBO’s interpretation, in the end, it is a possible explanation which is not seen as unreasonable,” wrote Laliberté.
Laliberté directed the parties to contact the trial coordinator to set a date for hearing on remaining issues, including costs.
The building permit authorizes the construction of two 20,000 metric tonne bins or silos and associated receiving, elevation and load out equipment at 11610 County Road 2, a property which extends to County Road 4 (Lakeshore Drive).
“We are obviously very concerned about the effect this (court) finding will have on our community at large,” said Chris Rowntree. “Meanwhile we are protected, if not by the enforcement of our own municipal bylaws, by the MOECC ‘Notice of Refusal’ to grant an Environmental Compliance Approval which needs to be obtained before any construction can commence. We believe this refusal, based on real engineering analysis, speaks accurately to the unsuitability of the proposed operation on this site.”
Ben Currelly, CEO of NorAg Resources Inc. the company overseeing the Morrisburg Dock Expansion project had no comment on the court decision and what it means for the future of the project.