Neighbours concerned Supplied photo

Some Minto residents are concerned that a proposed industrial park will corrupt their rural way of life.

During a public meeting Tuesday evening, councillors discussed whether to allow the Dobson’s of Dobson Brothers Enterprises to grow their business onto the 74-acre property at 5924 Wellington Road 123 that they purchased in January 2021 with the intention of consolidating their existing sites.

The matter will come back to council for a decision at a later date. 

Operating in Palmerston for nearly 50 years, A & B Dobson Sales Ltd. is a used truck and heavy equipment dealer that also sells sea-cans and storage containers. The business currently operates out of two separate sites; an office on Main Street and the yards located on King Street. 

However, residents like Brian Zabel, who live adjacent to the proposed industrial park, said the business would have a “huge impact” on his and his wife, Lori’s, property and lifestyle. 

“We’re concerned with industrial land being so close to our residence, (it) brings negative impacts such as noise, lights, pollution, obstruction of use, odours, dust, and increased traffic as we’ve already noticed with the current industrial park,” said Zabel, during the meeting. “We’d like to know what will be done to mitigate any impact these factors may have on us.”

Zabel also had concerns about how the close proximity of the industrial park may affect property values. 

“The industrial park is quite the change for us,” said Zabel. “We’ve been here since the original industrial park and we’ve seen firsthand the negative impacts that’s had on us and the enjoyment of our property.”

Their concerns were shared by fellow resident Sheri Schiestel, who attended the meeting alongside many Palmerston residents. 

“What will be done to rectify the fact that my property value will be decreased by rezoning agricultural land into industrial land,” said Schiestel, in a letter to council. “My land taxes are extremely high, and yet my property value will be decreasing.”

Coun. Ron Elliott asked whether the business will stick strictly to its 8-5 schedule. 

“There’s the odd time that a truck comes in later and you have to do something but most of the time, it’s pretty quiet after five,” said Mike Dobson, who was representing Dobson Brothers Enterprises. “It’s a parking lot, so it’s not going to be terribly noising, there’s not going to be trucks roaring around all day every day.” 

Deputy Mayor Jean Anderson shared Zabel’s questions on how high sea-cans and storage containers can be stacked on the portion of property located near residential lands but was ultimately in support of the proposal. 

“Industrial development is at the edge of every town, that’s the reality nowadays so it has to be at the edges,” said Anderson. “I understand there are residences there as well but my way of thinking is this is a reasonable compromise to move forward with.” 

According to Dobson, sea-cans can be stacked seven or eight high and he generally stacks them two containers high. 

The report currently states that “discussions are in progress” regarding the maximum stacking height of sea-cans/storage containers, with 41’ or three sea-cans high proposed. 

“The advantage of stacking them is so that we can display them,” said Dobson. “If we’re forced to put them all at a single level, they’ll take up an exorbitant amount of land area just to show the various containers.” 

Sharing his support for a suggested tree-lined berm separating the property from residences, Zabel also asked council to impose a bylaw that would limit how high shipping containers can be stacked. 

“From our point of view, there’s big winners and losers in this,” said Zabel. “I think that the town and county wins an increased tax base and development fees, the Dobson’s can obviously grow their business but for the residential properties, it’s a loss: plain and simple.” 

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

By Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter