Oliver Paipoonge, Ont. — The Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge’s council meeting started with a public forum regarding two new subdivision applications, and it became heated at times.

North Star Holdings owner Silvio Di Gregorio went before council to discuss his new subdivision application and said there were no changes to the zoning since 1988 when the development of the original Pennock Drive area was zoned light industrial to the east and west, as well as heavy industrial for the Vibert Road property.

Di Gregorio also said his company installed a berm as a buffer, built culverts on Cooper Road and a drainage swale to appease the community’s concerns about noise pollution and the possible lowering of the water table at the original site.

Seven residents stepped to the microphone and a full deputation was presented by former Oliver Paipoonge councillor Rick Potter to have their concerns heard.

“(Forest company MacMillan Bloedel) when it was being built pretty near drained all our wells,” said Oliver Paipoonge resident Dennis Perrier, who has lived in the community for 65 years. “Do you people know that? And they want to put a new development in there? You’re looking for trouble. Big trouble if you take everybody’s water.”

Pennock Drive resident Angie Bolt was also concerned with the development affecting the water, especially the aquifer. 

“Allowing an industrial subdivision to be built right amongst this one-of-a-kind residential community would be devastating to the people of Rosslyn,” Bolt said. “The noise, pollution and traffic this will create is exactly the thing people in the area are attempting to avoid living away from the city.

“I am particularly concerned with the effects this will have on the aquifer with the existing residents relying so heavily on the filtering and replenishing of our water source. What happens when big industrial lots with hydrocarbons leach into the water source?

“We know that the aquifer connects to the proposed subdivision areas to where there’s a budding residential area as the water level in many of the wells on Pennock Drive significantly dropped or went dry when the water was pumped away at the mill site many years ago to pour a new foundation. Is the municipality willing to take on that risk?”

Rosslyn Village resident Peter Gysen, who works for the provincial government as a transportation investment analyst, was apprehensive as to the size of the development and the level of the water table that has already seen a significant drop.

“We did know it was (zoned) industrial back there, but I don’t think we expected such an extensive development smack in the middle of many residential areas that are surrounding that area, Rosslyn Village included,” said resident Peter Gysen. “When this is all said and done, suddenly Pennock and others along (Rosslyn Road) are running out of water, what are our repercussions if this does cause that?”

The public meeting was held to receive feedback from the residents on the proposed two new subdivisions and would be considered in a report to be prepared by Oliver Paipoonge manager of planning, Kerri Reid.

A hydrogeological study will be done on the two proposed subdivisions with the results being part of the report that will go before council.

Residents can still have their say on the proposed subdivisions by making a deputation by contacting the municipal office by June 20 and can go before council at the next meeting on June 27.

By John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 15, 2023 at 10:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Chronicle-Journal   Thunder Bay, Ontario
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