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Alma residents afraid their voice won't be heard on propane facility decision

Township says it has made several accommodations to make sure residents have their say
The Township of Mapleton is holding a few council meetings at the Alma Community Centre. Keegan Kozolanka/GuelphToday

MAPLETON – An Alma residents group has concerns about capacity and accomodations for an upcoming Mapleton council meeting which will see a decision made on the controversial Core Fuels proposal. 

The Concerned Citizens of Alma (CCA) have been fighting against a possible underground propane fuel storage just outside of the hamlet.

Core Fuels has proposed storing a total of four large tanks that will hold nearly a million litres of propane. CCA oppose this based on potential for explosion, truck traffic, groundwater concerns and lack of information to residents.

Mapleton council will make a decision on approving the zoning on Tuesday and have moved the meeting to the Alma Community Centre.

Provincial guidelines allow a maximum of 50 people at an indoor gathering in this case would include town council and staff.

Amanda Reid, CCA member, said there’s not enough spaces available for the many members of Alma who want to come out in support of them. Any people beyond the 50 will be turned away.

“It’s very important for people to attend themselves to be able to hear the information, see what’s being said and voice their own concern and opinions as well,” Reid said. 

“We live in a small community where this kind of industrial change will impact everybody.”

Reid said they have suggested setting up a speaker outside or to move the whole meeting outside to accommodate more listeners and viewers but this was not approved by the township.

“They’re allowing us to livestream it on Facebook and that’s great for the people on Facebook,” Reid said. “It’s not great for the people who are maybe senior in the community and don’t have that technological skill.”

Mayor Gregg Davidson said they have tried to be accommodating with the community to make sure their voices are heard.

A few weeks back the town held a coffee with council session with Core Fuels representatives attending to answer any questions. 

“We also postponed the council session that would see this application from August until September,” Davidson said. “We are having our council session in Alma just so those members in the community have an easier opportunity to show up for it.”

He also noted the community centre can hold more people than their usual council chambers, which is where the meeting would be during non-COVID times.

Davidson understands that many Alma residents are concerned but can’t know for sure how many people would come out. 

“We don’t have a speaker system to put outside, so we’d have to go out and rent or purchase that for an unknown,” Davidson said, adding unpredictable weather defeats the possibility of an outdoor meeting. 

“We’d love to be able to spend all the time and money we want but it’s not feasible to be able to do that.”

The Core Fuels decision will be made at the Alma Community Centre on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

Keegan Kozolanka

About the Author: Keegan Kozolanka

Keegan Kozolanka is a general assignment reporter for EloraFergusToday, covering Wellington County. Keegan has been working with Village Media for more than two years and helped launch EloraFergusToday in 2021.
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