Walker Road resident Peter Smith says he’s decided to sell his house and land and move out of Sackville after town council cleared the way for a nearby plastic drainage pipe factory without notifying property owners in the area.
“We’re selling everything that we own in Sackville and moving out,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
His decision to leave comes after a series of changes the town made without consulting or notifying residents in the area. Those changes began 14 years ago.
“We had no knowledge of the re-zoning until after it happened,” Smith said, referring to the town’s original decision in 2008 to re-zone 177 acres near the Walker Road exit on the TransCanada Highway.
“At the time when I was informed that it was re-zoned to industrial, even Walter my neighbour behind me said, ‘Well, they can’t build anything industrial here, there’s no services, there’s no water or sewer here’ and that left me with a sense of security that it would be a long time or we would hear a lot more, before any development happened,” he said.
However, on April 11, town council gave final approval to a bylaw change that would permit development in the Walker Road industrial zone without water and sewer services.
Soon after, Smith and his neighbours noticed heavy equipment felling trees at 318 Walker Road.
Atlantic Industries Limited (AIL) had been granted a development permit to prepare the site for a factory to manufacture and store high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe there.
“With the application for putting an industrial plant at the site at 318 Walker Road, we had no knowledge of that whatsoever and we didn’t know that they had also amended the bylaw so that they could build without town water and sewer,” Smith says.
Town council began discussing the bylaw change on February 14th and scheduled a public hearing for March 14th.
A public notice posted on the town’s website read:
The proposed amendment to the Zoning By-law is intended to remove the requirement that all Industrial development must be serviced by Municipal services and include provisions to permit development on Industrial zoned land that is unserviced.
There was no mention in the public notice that the bylaw change would clear the way for a plastic pipe factory on Walker Road and as a result, no one showed up for the public hearing.
“If I had known about the plans for a factory, I would have been at that meeting and I would have spoken against it,” Smith says.
“If I had an opportunity to stop it, I certainly would,” he adds.
“If we had an opportunity to speak to this, then I’m sure we would have hopefully convinced the councillors of our concern and that would have perhaps changed their position.”
Smith did show up to address council at their meeting on June 7th where he and other residents expressed concerns about the potential for contamination of their wells and surface water in the area.
Smith’s horses drink from a stream that runs through a section of his property and that eventually flows into Silver Lake.
He also told council that his property values could drop by at least $100,000. (He owns another 82 acres near Carriage Court as well as a four-acre lot on Silver Lake and a one-acre lot on Fairfield Road.)
Since he moved to Sackville in 2005, Smith has been active in a variety of local activities such as chairing the Board of Elders at Middle Sackville Baptist Church; launching the Tantramar Immigration Support Team to help Ukrainian immigrants; serving on the Executive Board of the Sackville Swim Club and helping to organize the annual Sackville Triathlon and Duathlon events.
“It’s a very friendly, very safe town and that’s why we wanted to settle here,” he told town council in June.
“It’s the best town I’ve ever experienced for raising a family,” he said. “I love this town.”
But on Wednesday, he said that although he hates to do it, it’s time to sell all of his properties and leave.
“We’ve decided to move and we’re in the process of negotiating on a piece of land to start over again,” he said.
How we will miss you and yours!
“If I had known about the plans for a factory, I would have been at that meeting and I would have spoken against it,” Smith says. “If I had an opportunity to stop it, I certainly would,” he adds. I am sorry to read this news about Mr. Smith especially because I was involved in designing his dream house in Sackville. I know how much love he and his wife put in to their house.
At the same time, Mr. Smith’s statements are very familiar to me. Many people were surprised when the United Church application for rezoning was approved when they had no idea about it. Unfortunately, these kind of acts have been a norm in Town of Sackville (save for very few members). What Louis BELIVEAU was saying (as a member of the Heritage Board) was exactly about same/similar issue. Sadly though, many people in Sackville (and many other parts of the world) speak up only when an issue is directly related to them and that is why history repeats.
Despite all the information that is even available on Warktimes, I see comments from people who support staff and council by implying that Sackville people are unreasonable and impolite. I wonder if they read the news about heritage board, fire hall, plastic factory, …. I wonder how they will react if one of these issues affected them directly.
I very much agree with Susan “This won’t be the same toxic organization under the new amalgamation.” I really hope so and I look forward to it.
This is what happens when the Town and our local planning fails to properly inform its citizens. It’s horrible. Being zoned industrial is not an excuse to stick any hideous development close to people’s homes especailly, when it’s something that is this huge and can significantly impact their quality of life. The dust and noise in the area is just awful, some people can’t even open their windows as a result of this development and it will continue to be a mess due to the tractor trailers and forklifts that will be operating in that area, who will to pay for the roads when they crumble up, these are municipal roads that were not even designed for constant tractor trailer use. I am shocked at the Town and Planning for trying to put this in all hush hush as they did. They could have done a way better job informing people and investigated what was being put in so the impacts could have been better mitigated. This didn’t have to happen. But I guess Peter Smith doesn’t trust the Town anymore. There has to be a better solution than this.
I don’t know Peter, but I’m sorry he will be leaving. However, I would be much more upset if AIL decided to leave Sackville.
Why would AIL leave?….They are apparently allowed to do whatever the want in this town with the approved backing of our town coucil. This council didn’t even want the citizens to know what was going on.
I think when discussions or big decisions like a pipe plant or other major things that affect a neighborhood or the town in any way, everyone should be given a heads-up. It’s really unfair when people are blind-sided like this. Peter, I don’t know you, but will be sad to see you and your family leave.
Peter Smith might be one of the people who comments at my Bitchute Channel sometimes called “Indie Media Eastcoast” — a platform that doesn’t censor– Youtube and Facebook and Twitter are censoring discussions and that is unfortunate. I don’t blame Peter for moving — and he is lucky to have the affluence that he does–many people are barely hanging on, my single mother neighbour works two jobs and has to choose between cat food and food for herself–tough times make people tough and they find out they are resilient and can make do with less–I’m not worried about the AIL plant — I am worried about poverty and homelessness in sackville.com — Looking forward to reading the commentary that comes from this article and thank Bruce Wark for covering the stories of the people around here. If you have land and you are concerned about pollution you should probably watch the sky — there are things going on there too that the government approves of — my elderly neighbour spends a lot of time in her garden growing food and plants and landscaping — she started a conversation the other day with me about ‘geoengineering’ and it was refreshing to hear a 75 year old talk about this topic around here.
Suppose I could do the typical (Woke) response and say “It’s not an airport – no need to announce your departure” but I digress. For sure, I lament your departure Peter but not the conditions. Perhaps you’ll come out in the right side of the balance sheet on this? Ya know, not many people own acres on Silver Lake? I own one acre (that I live on) but I don’t believe it will get me bags of money. But back to your problem – best of luck, seriously. Prices are down and bank rates are up. I generally don’t lament my lot in life when I own multiple properties. Bad form old chap.
I think noting a drop in property values has more to do with the fact that it’s a decent indicator of the overall economic prosperity of an area (and, if we’re being honest, represents the lions share of most people’s net worth). Beyond that, potential contamination of ground water and the water running into our recreation areas is certainly something to be brought to the attention of residents before a major industrial development. (A report laying out the potential dangers, how those dangers are being approached, what can be done to mitigate environmental impact in the event of an accident etc. Would be an act of good faith on AIL’s behalf. And, potentially, the existence of such a plan would itself mitigate the economic impact by keeping land sales down). The way this has been approached by both the town and AIL is disconcerting at best.
Certainly Peter is fortunate enough to approach this from a place of relative affluence, but that doesn’t mean he’s coming at it from a money hungry perspective. What it should encourage us to think about are the people living in the area that don’t possess the means to relocate if/when their water becomes undrinkable.
I agree. The EIA would have gave the citizens a much needed level of comfort. I think it would have demostrated good corporate citizenship as well. Right now it’s bad, I think the trust is gone.