Solways Metals: The Saga Continues

I will try to keep people up to date on the situation at Solways metals. Hopefully I will be able to add documents at a later date so people can track the history of this problem location.

The first thing I want to say is that contrary to what many believe, housing was here BEFORE the scrap yard and in fact a church was originally in that location. So any attempt to "grandfather" the yard based on some kind of historical aspect is incorrect. In fact the area was NEVER zoned for a scrapyard until 1983, and even that is open to interpretation.

Second, the business that is conducted by Solways today is not the same kind of business that was conducted when it came into existence in 1983. AT that time rail was a lot part of how they transported metal. Today the transport is 100% truck transportation. The bottom line is that Solways has changed and then increased the amount of street traffic within the community by a huge amount without any attempt to contain that business within their own property.

It is the feeling of many that Solways is operating outside of their 1983 business license and using public space to conduct their business; with a net detrimental impact on the community. A community that was here first.

THere will be (yet again) another MLS Tribunal for Solways looking at their operation in the near future and we may need some additional resident support so stay tuned.

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Jan. 1 Fire at Solways

New Years Eve was busy on Ernest Avenue with a fire that occurred just after the new year began. There was quite a lot of residents and Railpath users around and witnesses said that the Police had arrested somebody. I have no other details. Here is a website of that features 3 galleries of shots taken that night. Note that the aerial unit used Elsie Lane as a staging point to reach the fire.

Solways spilling over to the Railpath 2

This situation has been documented and reported and also has been reported by the Railpath contractor to Parks and Rec. THere is another issue underlying it which is that Solways sits on public land that is intended for Railpath. Solways has received letters from the City regarding this issue and at this time the fence has not been fixed to its proper location. I would imagine that the contractor will refuse to work when the snow clears until this is sorted out. There is no gray area on these issues and given that the public will be using this path Solways will be compelled to do something soon.

Solways Tribunal Update

The City report regarding Solways has been sent back to have further information added to it that gives a broader picture of the situation. This action was led by Adam Giambrone and is also connected to a general realignment of MLS and an increased interest by MLS in enforcement. Overall this is a good thing although it may seem like a delay at this time. Many locals have been less than impressed with MLS over the years (talk to Simone Taylor on Perth who has been on this for over 25 years) especially since amalgamation created the consolidation of all the inspectors in a generic category with no specialization. Thankfully this is being reversed and from first hand experience Adam is making sure that these changes have an effect locally.

Solways spilling over to the Railpath

I've been noticing that scrap metal, often in very large/heavy chunks, is spilling over from Solways into the soon-to-be Railpath park. A few days ago the fence was practically bursting open, unable to keep the mountains of metal back.

This doesn't look too safe.... I hope this can be corrected ASAP, as the path is already well-used, and will be very busy once it opens up officially later this year.

Here's a photo from January 1st:

If you wish to have a complaint about Solways logged

If you wish to have complaints against Solways logged by Municipal Licensing and Standards you can email the area manager Elizabeth Glibbery

Be sure to include your address and the Solways address, 26 Ernest Avenue.

Elizabeth is not the investigator but frankly this has gone on for over 20 years so I feel residents should just go to the top. Feel free to include Giambrone's office in the email, Chris Gallop , it helps.

I would add that many have already logged complaints but it never hurts to have more as Solways effects the entire community.

Solways Tribunal Update

Here is a brief update relating to Solways and MLS.

1. I got a call from the Manager of MLS and he informed me that the MLS Staff report was completed last week and sent to legal for review. That process should take days and then Richard was sure that the report would then trigger an actual date in front of a Tribunal for the MLS to make a case against Solway's latest infractions. I was assured that the most recent news, that Solways has lost it's turn around land and was therefore in violation of a licensing condition had been included in this report. When a Tribunal date is picked the MLS report will be made public.

The Tribunal is an arms length body that attempts to be impartial in these sorts of issues. It is not part of MLS, as MLS is a plaintiff in this process. Generally speaking the Tribunal is loath to close a business; in our case the point is trying to get Solways to operate within the existing laws (of which it could not stay open) such as doing their business on their property. Tribunals can vary depending on who is on them. The last Tribunal was pro business and tone deaf to the community.

2. I had a fruitful talk with the new MLS Executive director Jim Hart and he promised to take a personal interest in this situation, one that has dragged on for over 20 years. I have heard first hand that he has been asking to be updated on the Solways situation which is a big improvement.

3. There will be a few community Witnesses for the hearing probably including myself and Michael M. but that will not be revealed until the report is public. In the past Solways has always said that there were no complaints on file which was more of a symptom of MLS and the local councillors (pre-Giambrone) than anything else from what I can see as there is lots of evidence that people have been complaining for years.

THere may be a petition going around shortly to augment the support for the case against Solways. As soon as I can I will post a primer on what the problems with Solways are. In a nutshell it revolves around them using public roads and space to conduct their business, illegal and dangerous driving of their own trucks, illegal parking of their own trucks, blocking of fire lanes, failure to comply with existing conditions they agreed to, and general impact on the larger community.