Concerned citizens voice alarm over plans for Sackville pipe factory

Land cleared recently on Walker Rd. to make way for plastic pipe factory

Thirty-five Sackville residents, who live in the Walker Road area, are expressing alarm about secrecy surrounding a proposed plastic pipe factory and storage facility that is planned for an 18.5 acre lot near the TransCanada Highway.

“The industrial manufacturing development being proposed takes up a significant area and resides next to numerous homes and a public park that all rely on well water,” the residents write in their May 16th letter to Mayor Shawn Mesheau, town councillors and CAO Jamie Burke.

“The major concern around this development is the lack of public disclosure, as none of these residential stakeholders were ever contacted directly,” the letter adds.

“There were no information sessions offered to residents on this potential development and there were no consultations where citizens could ask questions.”

The letter says the pipe factory would be operated by Atlantic Industries Ltd. and it could use high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with potentially harmful environmental and health effects.

“The citizens are worried about how such a large manufacturing development will impact residents in this area, their health, their groundwater wells, and the environment.”

The letter also questions why the site was cleared during the period when migratory birds are nesting and it asks the town for confirmation that the clearing did not violate the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Finally, the letter calls on the town to organize an open house “where questions can be asked about the potential development and the permitting processes involved.”

Signatories include experts

Bonnie Swift, who helped write the letter, says she compiled questions and concerns from other residents as well as a number of professionals who live in the Walker Road area — people with expertise in such fields as environmental planning, biology, geology and engineering.

She herself is a retired civil environmental engineer who has worked on industrial projects throughout western Canada. She also served as an economic development officer for the town of Sackville from 2010 to 2012.

Swift says she now realizes that town council cleared the way for the new factory when it changed its zoning bylaw to allow industrial development in an area where there are no town water or sewer services.

Town Planner Lori Bickford answers councillors’ questions during March 14 public hearing

While council held a number of discussions on amending the bylaw, there was little information disclosed publicly about why Andrew Fraser of Can-Tech Construction and Mike Wilson of Atlantic Industries Ltd. were seeking the change.

In her February 14 staff report, town planner Lori Bickford described the proposed development as a manufacturing and processing facility along with product storage on the property.

“The manufacturing facility is a nonintrusive use which has minimal waste due to recycling of materials and minimal water usage,” her report said.

Bickford assured councillors that if the applicants did need large amounts of water, that would be one of several factors that could trigger an Environmental Impact Assessment.

To read her staff report, click here.

The town held a public hearing on the bylaw change on March 14 after posting a notice on its website, but no one showed up to ask questions.

Swift says that was because no one knew what was happening until residents saw the land being cleared on Walker Road.

Last week, when Erica Butler of CHMA reported on the bylaw change and the proposed pipe factory, she quoted Peter Mesheau of Atlantic Industries Ltd. (AIL Group) as saying the company has a good environmental track record and also plans to incorporate things like solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations on the site.

She also quoted him as saying AIL’s manufacturing process does not use a lot of water and does not produce a significant amount of waste.

Mesheau did not respond to a telephone message from Warktimes.

To read the Concerned Citizens letter, click here.

To read CHMA’s latest story, click here.

This entry was posted in Town of Sackville and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Concerned citizens voice alarm over plans for Sackville pipe factory

  1. Elaine MacDonald says:

    I don’t understand.

    If AIL wants a facility for pipe making, why not, I don’t know, go back to Dorchester where the original facilities are and update/upgrade there as needed?

    I thought the area being cleared was for new housing or something, not a pipe plant and storage.

    I mean, yes there are likely benefits to this for AIL – closer to the highway for delivery for one, whereas Dorchester’s plant is very out of the way – but Dorchester was also a productive plant, until it was no longer feasible due to transpiration of the pipe and other issues, making it better to move out of province to Ontario, IIRC…

    So what has changed?

  2. cookie says:

    Is Peter Mesheau our Mayor’s brother?

  3. Andrew Nurse says:

    I wonder this: at the time the zoning changes were made, did council members know why they were making those changes? If they didn’t, that is a further problem. If they did, and did nothing to let the community know, that is a problem, too. I would love it if council members could weigh in. Did you know at the time you approved the zoning by-law changes, why this was being done?

    • CC says:

      So many are asking the same thing, if they didn’t know that would be foolish, and if did know and said nothing to the community, that would be duplicitous.

  4. Cookie says:

    Might there be a conflict of interest here?
    Hmmm …

    • Tristan says:

      Lets leave the conspiracy theories to the alt-right crowds…

      • Jon says:

        If it’s not legitimate to ask whether conflicts of interest exist when a mayor and a senior officer of a company getting zoning permission are siblings, when is it legitimate to ask about conflicts of interest?

      • Tristan says:

        Replying to Jon: I don’t think it’s legitimate considering the council voted on the permission, not the mayor. The mayor doesn’t have special powers like you might think.

  5. Tristan says:

    Interesting to note that no direct neighbours of this developpement signed the letter. It appears all of the signatures come from the McMansion neighbourhood of Carriage Court.

    • Bonnie says:

      Walker Road, Ogden Mill Road, Stanley Drive, Mount View and Sunrise Ridge …hardly just Carriage Court their Cousin. Stanley Drive is pretty much across the street. Anyone on well water basically and not all McMansions.

  6. Kelly says:

    I watched the council meetings about this. There wasn’t any issue with the business part of the development area. It was all to do with the fact the zoning bylaw for water and sewer said you need to hook up to municipal services if building or developing the industrial zones. The issue is they wrote it to encourage business to locate in the original industrial park and was hindsight to not omit for this industrial zone as there are no town services for water and sewer. Nothing to do with the type of business as it was already ok and zoned correctly for this type of manufacturing business. So it’s all around a wording that shouldn’t have applied unless there was existing infrastructure in place. I’m sure that regulations are already in place for such a manufacturing business so those will need to be followed. So with this being said I’m sure the conspiracy theories trying to tie this to the mayor are clearly unsubstantiated. Please let’s get some business rolling that’s not just cafes in the downtown core.

    • Mike Gallant says:

      Kelly – agreed. The mayor didn’t even get a vote on this as a majority of council approved it. The Group of 31 very much knows that two councillors live on Walker Road – they are very approachable and good neighbours. I’m sure those two councillors could answer any questions or concerns the Group has. I also live on Walker Road about a half Km from the proposed facility – never heard of this group until the media reports. They must be selective on who they allow in the group – my “credentials” must not be acceptable?

      • Kelly says:

        No I suspect your not up to the certain standard needed, and neither am I. Simply using all the scare tactic 101 language to try to get a uproar over a very needed business.

      • CC says:

        This is true the Mayor did not vote. They only vote when there is a tie and that could have been a possibility when this motion was put forward. However, if there is a potential conflict of interest you are also supposed to mention that there is a potential conflict and recuse yourself whenever you are presented with motion that is in conflict. The by-law text amendment was pretty much requested only for this project, as there were no other projects. I watched the meeting that night…there were no recusal statements. I am not sure if there was a conflict …but it does beg that question.

    • CC says:

      All of the sites, the contaminated sites I remediated were government permitted sites…just saying. I wound not have too much faith in any of the government permitting systems….especially around groundwater….that’s a nightmare when it happens and it’s the hardest thing to deal with for those impacted.

      • Kelly says:

        So if every person who has a relative in this town is to recuse themselves then we’d be hard pressed to get anything done. If the business owner was his brother, parent or spouse I’d see the point. I mean after all the council said it’s fine for the CAO to continue employment with mta. Which I see that position as the one and only paid job one should have as CAO. Just look at the mess Charlottetown is going through with the CAO scandal.

  7. Cookie says:

    Why wasn’t AIL encouraged to set up shop in the existing industrial park here in town where there’s lots of unused real estate AND already existing municipal infrastructure for this new entity to use?

    • Kelly says:

      Hey cookie did you check to see how much land is currently available for the size of this project? I mean in the already fully occupied industrial park off exit 506.

    • CC says:

      We are all asking that exact thing. Why put people at risk when you have a know location that can service this industry properly.

  8. CC says:

    Research papers from Timbergan Institute show that the value of properties go down when ever a home is within 5 km of a major industrial site. This is a major site, almost 2 football fields in length….those impacts are even greater for those with in 2 km from the site…the curve is parabolic. Strange that no one at the Town seemed to consider the social economic impacts to the people that will be living close to this location when this development was approved. It is one thing if you chose to buy a home at one of these locations…it’s bad when you already invested in a home and had no idea the scope of the impacts from this type of project.

    • Kelly says:

      Did you even research that this property was already a industrial zone? There is no approval needed from the town to allow this development. The only thing that was changed was a bylaw for zoning that requires a business to hookup to existing town water and sewer, which was unavailable. So they made the logical change to the bylaw, rather than the town and taxpayers to put in the services. So anyone that purchased a home since 2009 should have researched the surrounding area that was re zoned then. Or opposed the re zoning back 13 years ago.

      • CC says:

        Most of the people here bought in my subdivision in 2004 when the subdivision was built. They changed the zoning in 2009. Lots were here on Stanley, Walker and Ogden Mill much longer than that….Sorry but the fortune tellers were not there for them to know this was coming. Even in 2009, the reason they could never develop the site for industrial was because the site wasn’t serviced….It’s still not serviced.

  9. Kata List Productions says:

    “Please let’s get some business rolling that’s not just cafes in the downtown core” .. Amen to that.

    Hey guys.. check out the website

    Water Liberty Project on Twitter…

    The water scarcity story is a myth… we have lots of water and no need to panic … and it should be a good thing around here to have more local jobs!!

    Thanks Bruce, good story.

    • Les Hicks says:

      I have no information on the amount of water that the AIL factory will be using, but without having exact figures it seems natural, and reasonable, for local residents, who are all on well water, to be concerned about the potential effects on their well water quantity and quality, regardless of Sally’s baseless assurances that there is no cause for concern :

      “The water scarcity story is a myth… we have lots of water and no need to panic … and it should be a good thing around here to have more local jobs!! “ Tell that to the folks in the southwest United States who have been rapidly using up all of their freshwater aquifers.

      “Hey guys.. check out the website” I did that, and then checked out some critical assessments of that institute, specifically of Stephan Riess, the ‘expert’ that Pal Pauer, of the Primary Water Institute, lists as his mentour and source of much of the information provided. Some of the critical comments include :

      “Riess’s theory of primary water was criticized in mainstream geological and hydrological publications, including those of the US Geological Survey, the California Division of Mines and Geology, the National Water Well Association, and the American Water Works Association.”

      “The existence of juvenile water has been commonly accepted by mainstream groundwater scientists, such as those of the US Geological Survey, since the 1920s. The disagreement has been that juvenile water – what Reiss called primary water, is considered by most groundwater scientists to be too highly mineralized to be potable. In a 1963 criticism of the Riess theory published by the US Geological Survey, C. L. McGuinness wrote: There is no doubt that new water reaches the earth’s surface from the interior. Geologists call it ‘juvenile water’…It is invariably high in mineral content, however.”

      “Geologists from the California Department of Water Resources investigated a number of wells cited by Reiss as examples of high-yield primary water wells. They reported that the actual flow rates were in most cases much lower than claimed by Riess. In addition, oxygen isotope analysis of the water identified it as of meteoric origin.”

      “In an editorial ‘New nonsense for a thirsty world,’ the Water Well Journal called attention to Reiss’ failures at Alpine, Texas and Camp Desert Rock, Nevada. The editorial noted that the Riess-located well at Avalon, California, favorably mentioned by Salzman on page 51 of New Water for a Thirsty World, produced only 20 gallons per minute. It also noted that in discussing the supposed sale of Riess’ Simi Valley wells to Clint Murchison for $1 million, Salzman failed to inform readers that Murchison paid Riess only $108,000 as a down payment, but after testing the wells and finding that they did not perform as Riess had promised, Murchison cancelled the deal.”

      If we look closer to home, residents along Mount View Road have had serious water quality issues for years, mainly from high levels of Iron and Manganese in the well water. We have had to install filters and ion exchange systems to reduce the iron to an acceptable aesthetic level. Two or three years ago, after what seemed to be abnormally dry summers, the water level in our well at our residence on Mount View Road and the well at our cottage got so low that we were getting murky water.

      Sally, from your comment I presume that you are on town water (please correct me if I’m wrong), and are not familiar with the problems other town residents face with their well water. We are fortunate that we live in a society where we can all comment freely on issues, but in future kindly limit your comments to those that are supported by facts, not alternative facts.

      • Bonnie Swift says:

        Les you are right my well quality has gone down a lot here. Well draw downs cause the concentrations of Iron and Manganese in the well water to increase since there are more sediments and these things tend to bind to sediments. Anyone not on a well has no skin in the game. They don’t get it….Sally is probably on Town water.

  10. Kata List Productions says:

    I asked with the intention of questioning the narrative of scarcity regarding water… the information is there for others to explore who are concerned and have acreage and can drill down for their water — which is a luxury — I always get slammed by Les on this site… doesn’t matter.. people with minds to focus on the information and learn will benefit from Pal Pauer’s research and accomplishments including his efforts in Israel to provide water where they were told there was no water. I don’t see what being on town water has to do with the discussion Bonnie. Aren’t we all “Tantramarshire” people now?

    • Les Hicks says:

      “I don’t see what being on town water has to do with the discussion…” Sally, the point is that you, who is apparently on the town water system (you still haven’t clarified that), and thus would not be affected yourself if there were well water quality and quantity issues arising from this factory development, were telling those residents who are on well water that they have nothing to worry about by making ridiculous, non-founded claims that there is no issue with shortages of good quality fresh water. If you do not live in the area in question and are not knowledgeable about the well water problems that we are already experiencing, then perhaps it’s best that you limit your comments to a subject that you actually know something about.

      • Kelly says:

        Ha. Funny you commented lots on the so called Controversial abbatoir but not sure you lived in that immediate area? But is the rule only applied when you don’t agree with others? Just saying.

      • Les Hicks says:

        Hi Kelly,

        That is a valid point. I should not have included “if you don’t live in this area” in my comment, and kept it to “If you are not knowledgeable about the well water problems that we are already experiencing, then perhaps it’s best that you limit your comments to a subject that you actually know something about.” Thanks for the correction.

      • Kelly says:

        Les you seem to be a bit thin skinned with those who don’t agree with you? Man you must have a small mind. I now understand why so many seem to have issue with your long winded responses all the time. Not sure what you think I’m an expert on but I know how these processes work and this particular business is meant for the industrial zone. The fact they made an error on wording requiring municipal services and voted to accept it’s not needed here is progress. Now going forward if they follow all the requirements currently in the regulations then all this criticism is moot. So again why are you the expert on all things?

      • Les Hicks says:

        Kelly, I’ll try to keep this to a short ‘Coles Notes’ format in point form :

        1) I already agreed with you on your criticism of my comment – not sure what else you’re looking for.

        2) Re-read my original comment – at no point did I state that I was against this development – just that I agreed that local residents had a reason to be concerned about possible impacts on their well water (regardless of Sally’s pseudoscience backed claim that there is no such thing as a shortage of fresh water).

        3) If the town and AIL had provided more details on the projected amount of water that would be used in the manufacturing process AND the plans for ensuring there would be no groundwater contamination then the local residents would likely feel less concern. I presume that before a company spends all the money on preparing the site and constructing a factory they would requrie some detailed projections of exactly how much water the production facility would require in order to calculate their production expenses and profit margins, etc.

        4) “Not sure what you think I’m an expert on” – ????

        5) “So again why are you the expert on all things?” – That’s your statement, not mine.

        6) “You seem to be a bit thin skinned with those who don’t agree with you?” I think that might be a bit of projection on your part. I understand your frustration with the town’s inconsistent development policies concerning the two highway exits that led to your previous business expansion proposal being denied by the town. That, plus your personal connection to this current business development and your desire for it to succeed would naturally lead you to be critical of any possible questions or concerns raised about it, whether they are legitimate or not.

      • Kelly says:

        (1) Yes I realize that.
        (2) They will need to follow regulations set forth
        (3) Not sure why it’s needed as planning and appropriate agencies will see procedures are adhered to.
        (4) You just seem to always know so much more than anyone.
        (6) You have no idea what we went through as a small business dealing with the town. And I speak for myself not my wife as I’m sure you do and not for yours.

    • Bonnie says:

      Yes, we are all Tantramarshire” people now, just some are on groundwater and some are not. “Tantramarshire” actually has a nice ring to it. We asked the Town about air quality and groundwater protection it was a request for information and that was pretty much it. But not everyone here will have great access to water we are high up in the watershed this is a big factor. Especially with drought and climate change issues tons of wells have been going dry in other areas that once had a great abundance of ground water. We are lucky in so far that has not happened here yet, but its doesn’t mean it won’t. It is really important we protect what we have and surface waters as well, so many rely on our reservoir…complete lakes have gone dry in some areas of the US.

  11. CC says:

    The other concern is if this product is plastic culverts, they are typically made from High Density Polyethylene or HDPE. The citizens contacted a council member to confirm however, they have not provided answers to this question, but this is pretty much the only plastic product used in this industry. Polyethylene products are made from ethylene, a petroleum-based hydrocarbon…when this stuff burns it burns forever. Also, plastic manufacturing has been known for what is called particle dust explosions because plastic particles are quite volatile. These are huge explosions. There is not even a fire hydrant up there. I certainly doubt the Town has the fire and safety resources to contain it. The releases from these fires are also toxic so evacuations would be required. There was a recent polyethylene plant explosion in 2020 with the Poly-America company in Grand Prairie, Texas…I am pretty sure we do not have the fire and safety resources to fight something like this.

    • Mike Gallant says:

      Ok, “CC” you’ve chosen to remain anonymous and that’s mostly OK. You’ve held yourself out to be some type of expert on remediated sites – which ones? All sites are federally or provincially covered. As to your assertion of a conflict of interest (first by the mayor) and then possibly after the fact , since the mayor didn’t vote, how far do you extend that conflict? To councillors that voted on it? A Councillor that is related to property owners in Walker Road? The conflicts are endless…but how far do you want to take that?

      Being an elected rep this town is mostly thankless proposition and I tip my hat to all of them. Our town is about to grow with amalgamation. I’m sure the next slate of councillors and mayor will have a challenging job. If you have some type of expertise in these matters, I truly hope you’re offering those skill sets to both elected and non-elected officials.

      • CC says:

        I asserted nothing. I said I wasn’t sure if there was a conflict. But it begs the question if it was. Are we are not allowed to ask questions or question things anymore? Is this not what a discussion site all about. Truth be told I have no idea but I would like to know. Everyone should know when and why a conflict would arise. It may have not been an issue at all. I have no clue how far down on an family tree to when a conflict would even arise. But others on this site were also wondering that exact same thing. Do you know? If you do please let me know. You are right, being an elected rep is a tough job I can get that, it is very hard but you know taking that on everything you do will be questioned, that’s what being a public rep entails. Who are the non-elected officials you are referring to, please kindly explain? I am not sure what a non-elected official even is, do you mean like a government employee.

  12. Mike Gallant says:

    Kinda fun how someone on this discussion thread is doing so under three different “names”. Also funny that that same person is a signatory to the letter to the town? Shows a lack of conviction and honesty in their views. Step up to the plate and be counted. Otherwise, you’re just being duplicitous

  13. Peter says:

    I am rather shocked by the catcalling and lack of civil discourse. I understand that the town council did not want to lose the tax revenue. Nevertheless, there still remain some serious issues to resolve here, over and above those that have already created the communication chaos on this news medium.

    To wit: there does exist a town parkland between the highway entrance and exit points, a park that is used frequently in all four seasons of the year. While many drive there from different points in and around Sackville, while even those who exit the highway for a rest and picnic, some who live closer walk there. Has any one thought about doing a traffic projection? That might have been something to, at least, ponder. I would assume, given the likely size of this facility, especially when one includes the company’s push to buy the blueberry patch that adjoins the site, that there will be large, heavy trucks coming and going from that facility. It seems to me that the town will be forced at some point to widen the road between the factory entrance(s?) and the highway ramps enough to provide reasonable accommodation space for the trucks to pass each other when arriving and departing simultaneously without potential conflict with pedestrians. The latter concern is most important, because with the road widening, the safety measures would certainly dictate raised sidewalks with steal safety rails, preferably from the corner of Stanley Drive right up to the highway ramps. That widening would of course have to take place on the land of the new factory, east side of Walker Rd facing north while leaving the sidewalk to be placed on the west side facing north, thereby not avoiding infringement on properties of any homeowners.

    In other words, has no one thought seriously about the safety of the citizens on foot on the way to our Tantramar Town Park?

    • Bonnie says:

      There are many safety concerns and the concerned citizens did ask about traffic impacts and the road use impacts as Walker Road itself was never designed for the high loads of large tractor trailers. I am sure there will be quite a few of them coming in and out of that site. The group got no feeedback on how this would be managed. Walker Road is a municipal road not a highway, load tolerances are different for each of these. Yes, the town should have conducted a traffic study. I have no clue as to why one was not done. Sadly, the town has discussed idling at takeouts more than they have questioned the risks to traffic saftey around such a large development; there will be impacts.

  14. Jamie Adams says:

    On May 26th, I contacted every councilor along with the mayor to get more information about this site. The mayor forwarded my email to Lori Bickford who did not respond. None of the councilors responded. It’s interesting that we won’t allow a new drive through but we’re fine with building a plastic pipe factory next to the town’s water reservoir, next to a public park and across the street from residential dwellings.

Leave a Reply