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Council rejects company's bid to keep storing explosive material

by David Meyer

GRAND VALLEY - East Luther Grand Valley Township council has rejected a bid by a multinational firm to store ex­plosives used in quarries on a property in the township.

Mayor John K. Oosterhof said in an interview on Monday that the council was unanimous in rejecting a temporary storage facility, and also unanimous in re­jecting a zone change and official plan amendment that would have allowed Orica Mining Serviced to permanen­tly store explosives on the site.

The company, which has its international headquarters in Australia, had been us­ing a parcel of land owned by Klaus Friesecke.

The land is located at emergency number 033411 on Sideroad 21-22, Concession 4  South. Its designation is agri­cultural and environmental pro­tec­tion and the proposal was to change it to a special policy area and environmental protec­tion area.

Mayor John Oosterhof said there was little discussion at council when it held its votes at a meeting the last week in May. He said the council chamber was packed with people.

Hundreds of residents op­pos­­ed the proposal. The site had been used to store explos­ives in a very minor way for over a dozen years, but when the Orica application became known, there was almost universal opposition in the neighbourhoods. It planned a huge expansion.

The company held a public meeting in early April to try to convince residents that the stor­age plan was safe, but residents were adamant they did not want large amounts of explos­ives stored anywhere near the Luther Marsh. The land is 500 metres away from that wetland.

Residents also deplored the company’s world-wide safety record, de­spite assurances by Orica employees that all steps would be taken to ensure safety.

The battle, however, might not be over. Orica has already spent a large amount of money for a storage facility on the rented site, and it has the right to appeal council’s decision to the Ontario Muni­cipal Board.

“The ball is in their court,” Oosterhof said. “If they appeal, they have 20 days to make that decision.”


Vol 42 Issue 23


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