ABERFOYLE – Those living near the location for a proposed trucking headquarters in Aberfoyle made it known they’re not thrilled about the idea at a public meeting Wednesday.
Traffic concerns and the change it would bring to the small town were front and centre of those concerns.
About 50 people living in Meadows of Aberfoyle, a residential community off Gilmour Road, and others packed the house at the Puslinch Community Centre for the public meeting to let it be known they’re concerned about a proposed trucking company headquarters on a vacant property along Brock Road South.
Wellington Group of Companies has applied to rezone 128 Brock Rd. S., a 15-acre property near Gilmour Road to consolidate an existing Puslinch and Campbellville office into a single headquarters. The rezoning would permit a three-storey office building and warehouse to be the main location for the trucking company with a total just under 218,000 square feet for the buildings.
It would also include a large parking area with 170 employee parking spots, 123 tractor and trailer parking spaces and 21 loading spaces. It is expected there will be over 100 employees and an additional 50 drivers.
Pierre Chauvin, planning consultant from MHBC, said Wellington is a local company employing a number of local people looking to invest more into this community through a state of the art facility.
This proposed location is ideal for the company, Chauvin explained, because of the close access to the 401.
He stressed the company is doing what it can to ease many concerns. They will be putting up a noise wall, installing a top of the line septic system, protecting the wetland on the property, most operations will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., there will be no hazardous material stored and their traffic studies show minimal traffic impact to Gilmour Road because trucks will enter and exit on Brock Road and only employees will use an entrance on Gilmour.
This last statement elicited some laughs from attendees, with a majority disputing the idea there will be minimal impact on Gilmour.
“This doesn’t make sense, there will be significant impacts if everyone comes to work, everyone leaves work, they will have to leave Gilmour,” said Lisa Ross, who gave a presentation outlining concerns with fellow Meadows of Aberfoyle resident Alastair McCluskey.
“On Gilmour, go east and it’s an unpaved road we love walking down as a community because it’s a beautiful road and there’s beautiful homes and we all live and chosen to live here.”
McCluskey called the application incompatible with the existing community with it being 250 metres from the subdivision.
“It removes the buffer between industrial, residential and the downtown commercial urban, rural and agricultural lands,” McCluskey said. “It removes and deprives the community from a potential small scale commercial, institutional and public service facility location.”
It wasn’t just Gilmour Road that was the topic of traffic concerns, but also the roundabout at Brock Road/Gilmour Road, which Meadows of Aberfoyle association president Cam McConnell said is already like “Russian roulette” when drivers use it now.
“At rush hour, you’re taking your life in your hands and that’s even before a semi is blocking the view of the far lane, there’s no way it’s going to get better,” McConnell said.
After a series of residents spoke, Mark Lunshof, an executive with Wellington Group of Companies, addressed the room, calling their concerns valid and stressing they are willing to work with the community to minimize the impact.
“We plan to be here for the long term, so if that means we got to stay in Mclean Road, or perhaps we look at another piece of land, perhaps we will we’re open to it,” Lunshof said. “But right now, the dream would be that we hear your concerns and we can satisfy them and we can have a happier community.”
Chauvin clarified he didn’t intend to imply there would be no change to traffic, but that based on their modelling no changes are necessary to the roads besides a right turn lane for trucks going into the property.
He said the company would be open to having another meeting with more consultants at hand to answer specific questions regarding the studies.