IROQUOIS – The polarizing issue of a grain terminal on Lakeshore Drive in South Dundas once again dominated talk at the municipality’s final all-candidates debate.
The topic was raised last week at a debate in Dixon’s Corners and roughly 250 people at the Iroquois Civic Center Monday night were still looking for answers on the project. They heard from the nine candidates for council, three for deputy mayor and two for the mayor’s seat.
Warren Schneckenburger, was the first to open questions to councillor hopefuls. The farmer from Glen Becker asked whether they supported the Ontario Grain Terminals project at the UTI dock.
Incumbent Archie Mellan told the crowd he supports the terminal as the developer has “put up a lot of money” and the project will lead to “direct jobs” for the local economy. Candidates Jim Graham and Robert Gillard say they support it while Phillip Blancher said he would support it as long as it “falls within guidelines.”
But some weren’t ready to make a full commitment. Candidate Marc St. Pierre says the “devil is in the details” and he wants to make sure there is no impact to Lakeshore Drive residents. But Bill Ewing said, flat out, he doesn’t support it. “The residential development is supposed to be south of Highway 401,” and questioned where residential development would happen if this development went forward. “(I’m) not in favour of that location (the UTI dock).”
Iroquois resident Chris Roundtree also had concerns about the truck traffic going to the proposed silos. Jim Mills told Roundtree it’s an international port and residents should have thought of that before moving to the area. Incumbent Jim Graham suggested the residents could appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board if the project does go through.
The council candidates were also asked questions about dock fees at the Iroquois marina, developing the marina and waterfront, bylaw enforcement and services for seniors.
Mayoral and deputy mayor candidates didn’t escape the silo questions. One woman asked the incumbents how a petition with 600 signatures was received by council and what happened to it.
Deputy mayoral incumbent Jim Locke said the site has been a deep water port for 50 years and he would rely on advice from professionals on whether the land is zoned properly for the development. “Whatever it takes, it’s time to get it done.”
Mayoral incumbent Steven Byvelds said the petition was received during an “awkward night” of council and they “took note of it.” Byvelds said the project has been working through the permitting process with the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and there has been no request for a building permit.
The hopefuls for mayor and deputy mayor also took questions on community improvement, support for the Dundas County food bank, water rates, landfills and recycling, long term care homes and sustainable forests.
Advanced voting happens Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Oct. 22-24) from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. (Oct. 25-26) at the South Dundas Municipal Center (SDMC) in Morrisburg.
Registered voters can use paper ballot or they can vote by internet at the Morrisburg location. They can also vote at home by telephone or internet.
Voting is also at the SDMC on Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.