North Huron Council turns down Green's exemption, blames Morris-Turnberry
BY DENNY SCOTT
Despite an impassioned plea from Shaelin and Shelby Green of Green’s Meat Market in Wingham, council did not approve a “compassionate exemption” to its moratorium on new cross-border servicing hook-ups for the business.
For more than a year North Huron and Morris-Turnberry Councils have been at a stand-still with cross-border negotiations, and since those negotiations started, North Huron agreed to continue servicing existing cross-border water and sewer hook-ups, but not allow new ones until a new agreement is put in place.
The Greens spoke to North Huron Council during its Feb. 16 meeting, explaining that they wanted to outline why a water and sewer hook-up would be good for both the business and the municipality.
The two started by saying that 2020 was not a good year for the business even before the fire that claimed the market’s main building in Wingham in June. After that, however, there was a significant amount of support from the community, the two said, which reflected the support the business typically offers the community. The two said Green’s Meat Market has been supportive of the community, including the Wingham and District Hospital, minor sports and events like the Wingham Homecoming and Musical Muskrat Festival.
The two said that, at the time of the fire, the business had 25 employees, 15 of whom were North Huron residents, while the remainder of the staff contributed to economic development in North Huron through shopping, buying fuel and as patrons of local restaurants. They also said the business draws customers from far outside the area, further enriching economic development in North Huron and Huron County.
Shaelin explained that the new and improved facility being built will bring many intrigued customers to the area.
There have been a number of setbacks, according to the duo, since they started rebuilding, including the refusal of the Government of Ontario to provide funding since the business is not currently in operation.
“That made the budget tighter,” she said, which forced the Greens to be more economically efficient during the rebuild.
Shaelin explained that, due to the water protection zone the market is in, the business has to use holding tanks, which are pumped out monthly, which is a large expense.
“Hooking in with North Huron would be most desirable,” she said, adding that abattoirs benefit local sewage systems by providing additional bacteria that break down waste.
The Greens explained that, as part of the rebuild, the business installed an advanced water treatment facility that will help improve its well water and municipal water, once supplied, which is looked upon favourably by meat industry inspectors.
The two explained they shared the information in hopes that council would reverse course and allow an exemption to the moratorium.
Reeve Bernie Bailey, however, quickly dashed those aspirations, saying that he wasn’t going to tell the Greens what they wanted to hear, instead telling them “what [they] need to know.”
While he was glad to hear that Morris-Turnberry was providing support, he went on to say the neighbouring municipality’s council had continually shot down any attempts to negotiate with North Huron and had taken months to respond to communication.
He went on to say Morris-Turnberry had pulled financial support for North Huron municipal facilities by pro-rating payments based on closures for COVID-19, which he said Morris-Turnberry Council didn’t do for payments to Howick or Huron East.
“We very much want your business back in operation,” he said. “We’re sorry to hear the province isn’t helping.”
He then explained that the previous request for an exemption hadn’t been turned down, but had been deferred, as had other requests for cross-border servicing connections. He went on to say that another local business operated by his brother-in-law couldn’t get an exemption, nor could two others.
Bailey said North Huron was legally forbidden from working on Morris-Turnberry lands without an agreement in place and he was upset that the lack of an agreement with Morris-Turnberry Council had put North Huron Council in that position.
Finally, Bailey encouraged the Greens to speak to Morris-Turnberry Council regarding the issue to encourage that council to seek out a new agreement.
“We need the support of Morris-Turnberry Council, and we need an agreement to make it legal,” he said. “We want to work with you.”
Councillor Anita van Hittersum applauded the Greens for their efforts, saying the market is a great asset for Wingham and the surrounding community, however, North Huron Council was planning ahead for the future by seeking a new agreement.
“We can no longer ask North Huron residents to pay for facilities and services used by our neighbours,” she said. “We’re looking for a fair share.”
Council took no action as a result of the Greens’ requests.