Propane safety sparks debate in Cornwall

Nigel Armstrong
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Cornwall Town Hall

CORNWALL — A town resident has concerns about a propane facility in the town but Tim Banks finds those concerns so offensive he’s offering to see the resident in court.

Unexpectedly for everyone, Banks and Kevin Connors ended up in the same room during Cornwall council’s recent monthly meeting.

Banks had slipped into the meeting to try and catch the moment when the town transfers all its shares in the Cornwall Business Park over to his company, PanAmerican Properties Inc.

That approval occurred quietly during the regular meeting.

After the meeting, the floor opened to the public and Connors began a prepared presentation with handouts and photos, saying he has long been bothered by the failure of the business park to abide by its original plan, policies and bylaws.

That called for business tenants that are not in conflict with residents, were attractive and were environmentally friendly. The park lacks buffers or landscape screening as originally envisioned, said Connors.

“My property is behind the business park,” he said. “It’s adjacent to the Kenmac propane distribution plant.”

He said he has tried for more than a year to get Cornwall council interested in the problem of the propane yard being too close to residents, now more urgently given the recent propane leak in Charlottetown.

“Unlikely yes, but accidents do happen,” said Connors. “You may have to evacuate up to a mile away, which pretty much takes care of the town of Cornwall.”

The plant was built and developed starting in 2008 so the current council was not involved, he was told. It meets provincial regulations, the meeting heard.

Connors said he does not believe the propane plant has a valid permit from Cornwall to operate and he called for a public hearing before approving any future tenants.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or what to do with it,” said Banks after listening quietly to Connors.

Banks praised Kenmac Energy and its nationally award-winning operation. Banks praised Kenmac’s operational plan it submitted to government for the propane facility, and its meeting some years ago with emergency services to develop a plan.

Then Banks quietly changed focus in his comments, mentioning the street in Charlottetown where the courthouse is located.

“Out of the goodness of my heart, I’ll offer to council, and I’ll give it to you in writing, if somebody wants to come forward and fight that silliness, there is a place down on Water Street, you can do all of that, and I’ll undertake your liability,” said Banks.

“I’ll pay for whatever you want to do to defend what we want to do, to create jobs and employment and investment in your community. I’d love to do it. I’d love to get an example of that and confront it in public. You have a very safe facility and I’m very pleased with it.”

He said he wants to expand the park and that’s what he plans to do.

Banks told council that propane is an excellent source of fuel that has a lower carbon footprint than oil and will save people money on energy costs.

Connors began to respond.

“I would wager to bet that you would not want to live next to a propane distribution plant,” said Connors. “The area around it is zoned residential. We can debate the merits of whether it’s great . . . “

“You can debate like crazy down on Water Street,” interrupted Banks. “Come to it.”

He then got up and left the room.

Organizations: Cornwall council, Tim Banks, PanAmerican Properties Inc.That

Geographic location: Cornwall, Kenmac, Charlottetown Cornwall Business Park Water Street

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Recent comments

  • chris mcinnis
    November 26, 2012 - 19:26

    Im sorry Mister Banks but your disrespectful Attitude is completely over the top. Explosions. The topic is the public safety being threatened. Nobody was denying the merits of propane as a great source of fuel. Nor is anybody insinuating that Kenmac isn't a responsible operator. Its the chance of a explosion, probably a simple accident that could have the potential of a domino effect creating an event that no safety emergency plan will be able to contain. Explosions do happen quite quickly u know. Show some respect Sir, and not resort to incredibly childish threats of ruining others financially. Money does not make u right, nor elevate you morally above others.