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MORRISBURG, Ontario – Eckel Noise Technologies, a major South Dundas employer, is raising concerns around a proposed development of a property neighbouring their production facility.

Consulting firm ZanderPlan has submitted a proposal to South Dundas Township Council to rezone the property at 45 Allison Ave. to allow the construction of a cannabis production facility.

Eckel is raising concerns that this facility could release noxious odours that would not only affect the quality of the products that they produce, but also the quality of life in that part of the Village of Morrisburg.

Eckel produces high quality noise cancellation technology and are credited with building the room for Microsoft that holds the Guiness Book of World Records title of being the “Quietest Room in the World.”

They are the biggest supplier for audio metric rooms in North America, and ship 80 per cent of their product internationally with 90 per cent of that going to the United States.

Eckel Chief Operating Officer Brian Harris said that he is concerned that if the odour of cannabis comes into contact with his company’s product that they could lose their ability to ship the product to the United States and lose business overall.

“If the product can absorb sound, it can absorb smells,” Harris explained.

Eckel has submitted a petition with 200 signatures to South Dundas Council opposing the proposed re-zoning and states that local businesses such as the Upper Canada Golf Course and the MacIntosh Inn have also filed letters of protest.

Harris said that if Township Council approves the rezoning of the property to allow for the creation of a cannabis production facility that it would leave Eckel’s future in the municipality in an uncertain position.

“We would have to completely re-assess or position in Morrisburg, which is something we don’t want to do,” he said.

Eckel has been in Morrisburg since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 and currently employ 90 people and are still looking to expand on that number.

The new facility at Allison Ave., if approved, could employ over 20 workers. While ZanderPlan is the one petitioning Council for the rezoning of the property, they are doing it on behalf of a client, who is not publicly known at this time. Requests to ZanderPlan for information about the identity of their client went unanswered as of time of publication.

In the submission to Council, ZanderPlan stated that the owners of the property would take steps to reduce odours.

“(T)he proposed development will include an approved Air Treatment Control system to ensure the usage does not emit any noxious odours,” the application reads.

South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds stated that he would withhold comment on the project until the proposal came to a vote in Council.

“When the bylaw comes to council, we will listen to staff’s recommendations along with what responses the proponents have to the public concerns.  We will then have an opportunity to speak our thoughts and then vote on it.  For me, as mayor, to speak prior to having all the information and prior to council voicing their concerns is not the way I operate,” said Byvelds in a statement to local media.

Byvelds went further and pointed out that if Council rejected the application for rezoning without a solid reason, that it could be appealed.

“You must recognize this public process for rezoning has an appeal process as well where if we vote against it, the proponent can ask the Land Planning Appeal Tribunal to overrule the bylaw; if we vote for it, then those who have spoke at the public meeting and/or have handed in comments will have the option to appeal,” he said.

Council is likely to vote on the rezoning application in the new year.

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