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Woodbridge ratepayers worry FedEx proposal headed for OMB may nix concessions

Aug. 29, 2014
By Adam Martin-Robbins

A controversial proposal for a large FedEx distribution centre in west Woodbridge could be decided by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The developers behind the 38,000-square-metre (400,000-sq.-ft.) facility, which would be used by hundreds of trucks daily, filed an appeal earlier this month.

That move came just more than a month after city council put off making decision on a re-zoning application for a property west of Hwy. 27, near Martin Grove Road, until September.

The matter was deferred to give city staff time to report back on requests made by concerned residents for measures to be out in place to minimize the facilities’ impact including erecting acoustic barriers, on public property, along both sides of Hwy. 27,

Nick Pinto, president of the West Woodbridge Homeowners Association and a candidate for the Ward 2 local council seat, said he hopes the appeal doesn’t jeopardize mitigation measures the ratepayers’ group negotiated with FedEx representatives.

Those measures include relocating or removing a proposed fuelling station, the use of full-cutoff lighting on the site, a berm and landscaping with mature evergreens along Hwy. 27.

FedEx has also agreed that its trucks will only use the access to Hwy. 27 until a new north-south street linking to Rutherford Road is constructed in the West Vaughan Employment Area, according to Pinto.

If those things are lost though the appeal, he said, “the politicians are going to have a lot more to answer for.”

A FedEx representative said the company is unable to make specific comments about the project at this time because it’s poised to release its earnings less than a month from now.

“It’s mandated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) that we can’t produce any forward statements that can impact our stock price before our earnings come out,” company spokesman James Anderson said. “It’s a very sensitive time so we’re very limited in what we can say to the press at (this) time, especially when it comes to real estate deals. So we don’t have much to say at this time other than the fact that we look forward to continuing to work with the community (and) we look forward to continuing to work with the City of Vaughan.”

The matter is slated to come before councillors for a decision at the Sept. 2 committee of the whole meeting, which is slated to get under way at city hall, 2141 Major Mackenzie Dr., at 11 a.m.