Red tape cleared for XL Wood Products rebuild

In this August 2018, file photo, XL Wood Products owner Irvin Paskesz (center) participates in a South Glengarry council meeting. South Glengarry council cleared some red tape on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 to allow XL Wood Products to start construction of a temporary building as it plans a longer term rebuild. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

GREEN VALLEY – South Glengarry has cleared some red tape to allow XL Wood Products to begin rebuilding from a fire that destroyed its operations last year.

Council agreed last night (April 6) to push back a site plan control agreement until May 2022 to allow owner Irvin Paskesz to proceed with getting a building permit and start construction of a temporary building while plans are made for the construction of a permanent structure.

Site plan control is an application process that’s required for any sort of development in commercial and industrial zoned properties that can take up to six months to complete.

“Because we are in very unusual circumstances, administration and council feel it is prudent to assist our businesses as much as possible to ensure their viability through the COVID-19 pandemic,” a staff report reads.

“I think we have to work with our local businesses especially in this environment. I’m 100 per cent in favour of that,” Deputy Mayor Lyle Warden said Tuesday night.

As for Paskesz’ request for a spring half-load exemption, council is allowing it for this year only (approximately another three to four weeks) while staff look at a longer term plan to allow heavy trucks on Concession Road 8 between County Road 34 and the property – about a one kilometer stretch of road.

Part of that long term agreement will look at whether XL Wood Products, the municipality or both should be financially responsible for wear and tear on the road from heavy trucks.

“I don’t feel 100 per cent that it should be all on us but I don’t feel that we should also leave them hanging either,” Deputy Mayor Warden added.

Mayor Frank Prevost agreed.

“It’s a fair sized business that we have in our municipality. We certainly don’t want to lose that. I think he needs to take responsibility for some of the costs there too because it’s unfortunately his business that’s causing more damage to the road. But it’s not all his equipment that’s damaging the road over a period of time so we have to take some responsibility also,” Prevost added.

The wood pallet manufacturing plant estimates it will cost $2.5 million to $3 million to rebuild from the November 2020 fire. Before the fire, the company says it had $7 million in annual sales and a local payroll of $1.5 million.