Councillor Abbott writes on Enerdu noise exemption request

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Dear Sir:

I am writing to reply to Brian Young’s letter of Jan 29th concerning Enerdu. I recognize that the residents of the neighbourhood have put up with a lot of disruption in the last few months arising from the construction company’s push to complete the site work this season. There was some confusion about the request filed by Enerdu for a by-law exemption and the issue came before council without notice and there was no one from Enerdu to answer questions about the long hours. Council suggested that Enerdu set up a meeting with the neighbours to see what accommodations could be reached. I have been told that this has been set up, but I don’t as yet know the details.

Council’s resolution was to defer the decision until a meeting has been held and it would appear that this will come up on February 7. Council also supported enforcing the by-law.

Because this came up on short notice no one had had a chance to review the by-law or talk to the by-law officers.

I will not comment on the unfortunate name calling in the letter.

“What can Council do?” I have talked to the By-law Department. I presume that Mr. Young hasn’t. We can issue tickets for $50. I agree that this is insignificant on a project this size. We do not have a provision for a larger fine since the by-law has always been seen as a means of settling neighbourhood disputes over barking dogs and loud music. Pending advice from our lawyer I don’t think that we have authority to issue stop work orders under the relevant legislation even if it was in the By-law. Council may or may not grant the exemption but as you have pointed out it is a toothless tiger. Any new by-law would take weeks or months to pass and would be open to appeal. Any attempts to get this into court would likely take months and all that is being asked for is six weeks.

The MVCA is looking into the case and has been on hand to watch over the project since the beginning. It’s concern is spring flooding and they are in consultation with the Municipality concerning this issue.

What can local residents do? I strongly suggest that they attend the proposed meeting and make their concerns known. They should strive for some compromise solution at the same time remembering that they are not in the driver’s seat.

I would also strongly recommend that no one undertake to prevent the company from accessing the site. They would be exposing themselves to the civil and criminal courts to no real end. Jumping in front a large truck on an icy sidewalk is never a good idea.

Finally, if Enerdu meets their schedule they will be out of the water in six weeks or less and there would be no need to reconstruct the coffer dams and access roads that are presently needed. This may be a trade-off between the current inconvenience and another summer of work on that part of the river.

The photo used with the letter does not do justice to the site. Walk along the Riverwalk and you can now see what the final project will look like without the large coffer dam, with the weir, and without the ubiquitous backhoe.

Again the best step at this stage is a meeting with the company to try to get whatever compromise is possible and to try to make the best of a distressing situation.

Duncan

Duncan Abbott
Councillor, Mississippi Mills