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Concerns voiced over proposed concrete batching plant on former Oneida Ballpark

May 03, 2023

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Haldimand council has received an information report about an application that is aiming to turn the former Oneida Ballpark into a fast-food restaurant and a concrete batching plant.

Located at Highway 6 and Third Line, the agriculturally zoned, 3.76 hectare property was sold by the county in 2020, and is surrounded by a variety of land uses, including agricultural and long-standing industrial, such as a gypsum mine operated by CGC Inc. It also shares property lines with four houses, with 11 others clustered within 500 metres of the site.

At the Aug. 23 council-in-committee meeting, residents expressed their concerns about the application, starting with Highway 6 safety, which resident Krys Plas said, "should be no surprise to anybody."

"We've had multiple accidents at this intersection, (and) we were probably about 10 to 15 years behind getting turning lanes put in on Highway 6," he said. Plas said there are often minutes-long wait times at the intersection before it is safe to turn onto the highway, and he said he's concerned that adding cement trucks to the area would significantly increase the risk to motorists.

"Those trucks speed up slowly, need a lot of room, and we're right on the stretch of road where people put their foot right to the floor making passes," he said.

Plas said he is an industrial carpenter, and anecdotally said he's seen a great deal of problems enforcing pollution and noise controls, and that in his opinion, the proposal for air filters and a 2.5-metre berm to mitigate noise and dust were inadequate. He said he was shocked to learn that while the initial public notice said the site would close by 11 p.m., county staff were considering the proposal as being a 24/7 operation, due to the zoning application.

"I wouldn't be able to sell my house, let alone try to get some money out of it," he said. "You don't move across the country and deal with driving 10 minutes into town to go for groceries and all your amenities, to listen to concrete trucks behind your house, concrete trucks up and down beside your driveway all day."

Robert McFarlane, a planner with Zelinka Priamo Ltd., which is representing the John Arts Group (the owner of the property) complimented county staff on their overview as exceeding his own.

He added that rezoning was necessary because there was limited agricultural use for the land, with it having "been eroded" due to the previous use as a ballpark with outbuildings.

McFarlane extended an invitation to the public to attend the next consultation meeting, scheduled on Oct. 3 at the Caledonia branch of the Haldimand County Public Library, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Ward 4 Coun. Tony Dalimonte said that while he had supported the sale of the property, he wanted to know more about the potential future plans, and would attend the October meeting.

"I have to express my concern because a couple of residents here are in really, really (close) proximity," he said. "Then there's others who are within spitting distance, literally a stone's throw ... So I'm going to be watching very closely to see how the proponent interacts with the residents in that area, because I am concerned and I want to hear what they have to say about this."

STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With concerns about the future of the Oneida Ballpark site, we wanted to report on what the plans and problems were.

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