News

Norfolk expects province to be `reasonable’

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Scotts Canada plant on Highway 59 in Delhi.  JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

Scotts Canada plant on Highway 59 in Delhi. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

SIMCOE - 

Scotts Canada has received the green light to proceed with an expansion of its processing facility in Delhi.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs says it would like Norfolk County to retire 10-acres of unoccupied industrial land to compensate for the 10 acres it will create at Scotts, but Norfolk council thinks that can be tended to at a later date.

Scotts is a manufacturer of lawn and garden products. Norfolk council approved its application for an expansion at its final meeting of 2017 Tuesday night.

“This has been in the works for quite some time,” Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus said.

“When they came to Delhi, (Scotts) employed about 12 people. I know they employ many more people than this today. They ship product clear across Canada. I think we can expect Municipal Affairs to be reasonable about this.”

Scotts needs the expansion to accommodate truck traffic that currently queues up along Highway 59 before entering the plant. Scotts also wants space for on-site storage.

Several factors make the Scotts application a complicated one.

First, the 10 acres at issue is part of an adjoining farm. The protection of farmland has become a high priority for the provincial government in recent years.

Second, the 10-acre parcel is outside the urban boundary of Delhi. Provincial policy discourages the expansion of urban and hamlet boundaries until all opportunities for infilling and intensification within existing boundaries have been exhausted.

Third, adding the 10-acre parcel to Scotts will reduce the adjoining farm below the 100-acre threshold for a viable farm as defined in Norfolk’s official plan. Norfolk must give special dispensation for this as well.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has suggested that Norfolk find 10 acres of industrial land it can return to agricultural purposes in exchange for the Scotts expansion.

Norfolk’s planning department has been in touch with property owners in Simcoe and Delhi to see if anyone is willing to help Scotts on this count. Some of these property owners are farmers.

Pam Duesling, Norfolk’s manager of community planning, said there are potential takers. Duesling will have more information for council after the Christmas break.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com