COLUMN: Grain Bin Go-Ahead?

by Phillip Blancher

SOUTH DUNDAS — As reported in The Morrisburg Leader and on Cornwall Newswatch, the building permit has been issued for the grain bin project at the Universal Terminals property on Lakeshore Drive in South Dundas.

The permit was issued January 30th by the Municipality of South Dundas, and only discovered last week. That is one of the troubling parts of this, transparency. This is a contentious and well-known project, but too much is being kept quiet.

During the 2014 Municipal Election, when this writer decided to run as a candidate, the issue of the Grain Bins dominated the agenda at multiple “All-Candidates” meetings. Many of the candidates, including this one, fell on the side of supporting the project, but also agreed that there needs to be transparency.

Unfortunately this is not happening, and that leads to the second troubling part of this issue, respect. All sides of the issue, pro and con, deserve to be heard, to be respected. You don’t have to agree, but each party has the right to lay their case out, warts and all, to be viewed. All sides need to be respectful of each others view as well. Developer, opponents, residents, business interests, farmers, members of council, and the “experts”.

The veil of secrecy, or optics of that veil, leads to court battles and mistrust. Mistrust in those who’s job it is to deal with the issues impartially, and mistrust in the process. That benefits no one in the community.

As an appeal has been filed against the building permit, expect this battle to go on for a long time, at least the lawyers will be making some money.

Time for a Pan-Canadian Alternative to Keystone XL

It’s time that the Canadian and Provincial Governments, along with oil producers in Alberta, sit down and hammer out a Pan-Canadian alternative to the Keystone XL pipeline.

This type of agreement occurred in the 1950’s enabling the Trans-Canada pipeline, carrying Natural Gas from western Canada, to fuel home heating in central and eastern Canada. There was government involvement, but not a lot of government money, and the solution allowed for a better, cleaner heating source to the largest population centers in the country.

We need this kind of solution in Canada for sending Alberta Oil Sands production east. If there was a new pipeline to the east coast, Canada would be able to be energy independent, no longer requiring costly imports of oil from less than desirable sources in South America and the Middle East. If the Americans don’t want Canadian Oil, lets keep it for ourselves.

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