Recycling facility vetoed by council

Town council has denied a zoning bylaw amendment application for a recycling facility on Main Street in the village Erin.

The amendment would have allowed a recycling drop-off and distribution facility on a property at the intersection of Wellington Road 124 and Main Street that is currently zoned “highway commercial.”

The application, submitted by Suncor Energy Products Partnership, which planned to rent the building to Sanderson Recycling, was first brought to council at a public meeting on July 13. During that meeting three residents opposed the amendment, citing concerns with the possibility of odour, excessive noise and increases to “less desirable” development in the area.

At the Aug. 11 council meeting, Mayor Allan Alls shared a sculpture titled, “Open Mind” before opening the meeting.

“I think all of us, council, myself, the staff, you the public need to meditate on that particular sculpture because every slice of that head represents every slice of issue that this council had to look at,” he said.

“I recently received some emails that bothered me very much. It accuses council of plotting and making accusations that we were in favour of something already that this council has not even received a formal report on, nor had made any decision on.”

Councillor Rob Smith declared pecuniary interest and was not involved in decision.

Aldo Salis, manager of development planning for Wellington County, explained in his report the new facility would re-purpose an existing building, would be convenient for the broader community, be limited to only recyclable dry goods and materials, and traffic concerns would be resolved with entrance improvements.

Salis supported the amendment because it “is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and conforms to the local Official Plan.”

However, council did not agree.

“I can’t see this as a suitable fit. I understand it’s a C2 designation, I understand you’re kind of on a highway there, but you’re also kind of in the downtown,” said councillor John Brennan.

Councillor Matt Sammut agreed saying, “We want businesses, we don’t want to turn businesses away.”

“We are trying to turn our town more into a tourist destination, the first view as you drive in from Guelph and even if you’re coming from the GTA as you’re turning the corner, you would see something that is probably not conducive to a tourism town.”

Council unanimously agreed to deny the application.