By Richard Bell
Citizen protests forced Lawrence Bellefontaine to abandon his plans to build a construction & demolition recycling plant on Highway 7 in Porters Lake. But the Concerned Residents of Porters Lake, Lake Echo, Preston and Mineville Areas are just beginning to investigate HRM Planning’s granting of a permit for Bellefontaine to conduct a wide range of industrial activities on the site, as well as what HRM describes as his indication “that pitting/quarry activity is intended for the site.”
With the exception of the quarrying, which the Province regulates, the other proposed uses are all “as of right,” which means that the uses comply with all zoning regulations, and do not require any public hearings or other actions by Regional Council. The proposed C&D plant required rezoning the land, so it could not go forward “as of right.”
The details of Bellefontaine’s new plans were laid out in an email on February 6, 2017 to Councillor David Hendsbee from Erin MacIntyre, principal planner and development officer with HRM’s Planning department:
“A Development Permit has been issued for storage and fabrication uses associated with construction trade. The permit allows storage of sheet metal, concrete form fabrication, welding, marine silt curtain fabrication, dock construction, and equipment repair. There is storage of various construction equipment such as excavators, cranes, barges, machinery trucks, and outdoor yard space rental for machinery related to the construction trade, including storage containers and small utility trailers.
“The proposal was as-of-right, meaning that the development proposal met the Land Use By-law requirements and no specific approval of Council was required. There is no public engagement for as-of-right proposals.
“The applicant also indicated that pitting/quarry activity is intended for the site. This activity is regulated by the Province, and so does not form part of the development permit approval.
“The permit type is a Development Permit, without an associated Construction Permit, as no buildings were proposed with the development activity.”
Deb Day, one of the principal organizers of the Concerned Residents group that stopped the C&D proposal, said that the “as-of-right” designation made it more difficult for public intervention. “We’re still looking in to it,” said Day.