City of Cambridge responds to province's threat over Blair MZO

A sign in protest of a proposed MZO in the village of Blair. (Heather Senoran/CTV Kitchener) (Nov. 24, 2021)

A saga involving a controversial warehouse project in the village of Blair has taken another turn.

The City of Cambridge was given a deadline by the province to conduct proper community consultation for the Minister's Zoning Order. The city obliged, but some residents are still not happy.

In April of this year, Cambridge city council endorsed the MZO for the one-million square foot warehouse and logistics distribution centre at Dickie Settlement Road, near Hwy. 401. The province gave it the green light in August.

At the end of October, Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, sent a letter to the City of Cambridge, threatening to bow out of the MZO if meaningful consolation was not proven.

"I am therefore requesting that you provide an update to my Ministry by November 30, 2021 or I will have no choice but to consider commencing the process to revoke the MZO," the letter reads in part. 

Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry remains firm on her stance that the city has followed through.

“The requirement for meaningful consultation engagement has already been met,” she said.

Both Blair Engaged, a group that has been fighting the project, and its lawyer said the mayor is being misleading to the province.

“It’s a shocking betrayal of local residents and first Nations,” said David Donnelly, the group's lawyer. “If the MZO doesn’t get rescinded, this is a potential MZO from hell."

“400 additional transport trucks per day [are going to be going] through the site,” said Alan Van Norman from Blair Engaged.

The City of Cambridge confirmed their letter was sent to the province before the Nov. 30 deadline.

“The site plan application came in on Nov. 10 and our city has forwarded the site plan application to our Six Nations in Mississauga of the Credit First Nations,” said McGarry.

The community says they do not count that as community consultation.

“Except the publishing of 1,000 or so pages on the cities website, but that’s not consultation that she’s publishing a bunch of documents related to a future site plan,” said Donnelly.

“A letter will be sent to the Mayor of Cambridge soon advising her that no adequate consultation with Six Nations has been done,” Lonny Bomberry, The Six Nations Lands and Resources Director, said in a statement to CTV News.

The mayor of Cambridge said there will also be a Traffic Impact Study and Heritage Impact Assessment presented to council that will be open for delegations, but no specific date was given.

A spokesperson for Minister Clark's office confirmed to CTV News they are reviewing the letter from the Mayor of Cambridge.