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May 19, 2006

The Physical Planning and Development Board believes that some persons were misled into adding their names to an objectors list with regard to the block making factory operating at the Leeward Highway/Vermont Road intersection at Cane Grove.

In a letter signed by Ardon Nelson, Town Planner and Secretary to the Board, and addressed to the concerned residents, the Planning Board accused the ring leaders of the protest of not using absolute authenticity in the disseminating of information to the other signatories to the objectors’ list.{{more}}

Some Cane Grove residents were demanding the closure of the block making factory claiming that it was affecting their health among other things. The concerned residents, a few of whom claimed to be asthmatic, said that the factory’s operation poses serious health risks to them. The protesting residents are also up in arms about the noise pollution and dust emissions that will arise from the factory’s operation.

High on their list of concerns was also the fear that their property values would be depreciated. They put forward the view that such a factory was out of place in front of a residential area.

In response, the Planning Board said that the historical background of the site in question as it relates to land use, is that it has always been used for heavy industrial or other “bad neighbour” type uses. The Board contends that the Cane Grove area is not just a residential district but rather an area of mixed land uses including commercial and industrial.

The area already has two block making factories, one furniture factory and two motor mechanic garages which according to the Board makes the land developer’s proposal very much in place.

The Planning Board has also indicated its willingness to assist the residents in assuring that the factories and other like business operating in the area put the necessary measures in place to meet the health and environmental needs of the residences in the area.

The Board is further convinced that the factory will assist in the overall aesthetics in the area and help to “prevent the outbreak of disease in the community” because without the factory’s presence the site serves as a harboring ground for rats and other “disease carrying animals and organisms.”

In addressing the noise pollution concerns Nelson writes, “The noise can be significantly reduced by the installation of mechanical silencers – in addition, if the operations are carried out between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. during normal working and school hours, the noise generated should have minimum effect on residents.”

“It seems as though Mr. Punnett is having his way,” said Chestor Charles, one of the protestors referring to Mark Punnett who acts on the behalf of the estate owned by Jack Punnett. Charles said that the whole issue was not handled in the right manner and vows to continue the fight.

When she spoke to SEARCHLIGHT at press time, another Cane Grove resident, Roslyn Baker, said that she is still convinced that the removal of the factory is the only option despite the planning board’s letter. The upset Baker who lives about 50 yards from the factory site said that the planning board is “prejudice and leaning on the side of Mr. Punnett.”