Green Valley pallet business wants to expand; concerns from neighbours

Irving Paskesz of Gelgib Industries, center, listens to South Glengarry council on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 as it holds a public meeting on a rezoning application for a future business expansion. Neighbour Catherine Laferriere, left, spoke about concerns with the business. Also shown is Community Services GM Joanne Haley. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – A wooden pallet manufacturer east of Green Valley is looking to expand but the thought of a bigger operation is not sitting well with neighbours.

South Glengarry held a public meeting last week to rezone an 18 acre (7.2 hectare) piece of land west of Gelgib Industries on Concession Road 8 – more commonly known as XL Wood Products – from agricultural to light industrial.

The company has been operating for over 30 years.

While neighbours don’t want to stifle an expanding business, they want XL Wood Products to clean up its act.

Catherine Laferriere, who lives across the road, said there has been complaints before and truck drivers continue to pull into her driveway to back up into the business across the road. “Our culvert’s not meant for that kind of weight…there’s already a load of gravel put in last year to repair some of the thaws and bumps in our driveway…it continues to happen.”

“If there’s an expansion, what does that mean for the truck traffic?”

Denis Quesnel, who also lives on Concession 8, had issues with the cleanliness of the site and was concerned a bigger operation could mean a bigger mess. He called the property a “pig pen” and accused the owner of ignoring the rules for half-load trucks in the spring. “Who is policing all this? All I’m saying is, keep your place clean. It’s very frustrating.”

Owner Irving Paskesz conceded there has been problems in the past but said over $50,000 had been invested to make a turnaround for trucks. Paskesz said he can’t be there around the clock to catch every driver.

Paskesz added that his business contributes $30,000 in taxes to the township, has a salary roll of just over $1 million, and spends over $100,000 on local goods and services.

“All I’m saying is before the zoning is changed…start to clean that up. Once you get that cleaned up you can have your rezoning up to Hawkesbury for all I care. Just keep your place clean, that’s all we’re asking,” Quesnel added.

“At this time, no development applications have been filed to expand the current company to the subject site,” Community Services GM Joanne Haley said. Haley added that the expansion would go through site plan control, which would dig into issues more deeply like entrances and exits for trucks and where they would park.

The public can comment in writing to the township until Aug. 20. A report with a recommendation on rezoning will be coming back to council in September.

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