A carrier’s application for a zoning amendment to relocate its trucking hub in a small Ontario town unleashed opposition from neighboring residents worried about noise, traffic, water and wastewater issues.
Puslinch approved the amendment at a council meeting on July 12, but only after the property owner agreed to a number of changes proposed by the township’s staff. Dozens of residents opposed to the development were present as local lawmakers unanimously approved the rezoning.
A few months ago, Wellington Motor Freight had applied to rezone a property in the township that lies in the southcentral part of the province, surrounding the south end of Guelph, where the carrier is based.
Wellington does not own the property but was seeking permission for a three-storey office building and warehouse with a large parking area of 21 loading spaces, 170 employee parking spots, and 123 tractor and trailer parking spaces.
Wellington representatives were not present at the council meeting and TruckNews.com reached out to the company seeking details on the situation. Derek Koza, president and CEO of Wellington Group of Companies, told TruckNews.com, “We are tied to confidential items which we cannot disclose.”
Cam McConnell, president of the Meadows of Aberfoyle Association said it is a NIMBY (not in my back yard) issue. “Nobody that works at Wellington lives here, none of the consultants live here, nobody in the planning department or town council live here. This isn’t in their backyard, but it is in our backyard,” he said.
The area south of the proposed hub, off Highway 401, is filled with industrial and trucking operations. Residents were eyeing the adjoining property as a buffer between them and industrial land use. They have concerns about traffic and noise generated by trucking, McConnell said.
Resident Alastair McCluskey said the water from the neighboring property flows toward the aquifer. Wastewater from an industrial operation would contaminate the wells around it and the aquifer, he said.
Owner agrees to changes
These concerns spurred the township to introduce changes to the application that included operation hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and noise abatement infrastructure that included putting back-up beepers on tractor-trailers that are quieter than regular ones.
Council also got the property owner to agree to construct a building on the site with a minimum area of 12,500 square meters, in a bid to prevent it from becoming a massive truck yard.
But the fight is not over as residents plan their next move. “We haven’t given up,” McConnell said. “We are disappointed in the process, the transparency and the outcome.”
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