If Cornwall gets this, council will hear about it

When we posted our latest story last night about the aftermath of Brockville's Tomlinson decision, I tweeted the following:

If #Cornwall gets this, #BrockvilleCouncil will have hell to pay.”

That was facetious, of course, but also true.

City officials last month terminated plans for R.W. Tomlinson Ltd. to build concrete and asphalt plants and other facilities in the west end, a project that would have brought as many as 40 jobs to Brockville.

Mayor David Henderson cited the massive public outcry against the project as the reason for scrapping it. That outcry, said the mayor, was an indication that Brockville is changing and some types of industry are no longer suitable for parts of the city.

There may be some sociological evidence for this, driven by cultural and demographic shifts.

In the shorter term, however, regardless of the reasons for the decision, there are immediate consequences.

As of this writing, I am in the process of finding out whether Cornwall is among the suitors pressing R.W. Tomlinson Ltd. for the relocation of the project.

And the truth is, even if Cornwall doesn't get it, or is not interested in it, the jobs are going somewhere other than Brockville if they are going anywhere.

We said “No,” and now many others are saying “Please.”

But Cornwall has developed some kind of special status in the popular consciousness here, even if many of us don't fully realize it.

It started in 2011 when Cornwall landed its new Target distribution centre, a prize many Brockvillains still feel should have been ours.

Never mind that it was highly unlikely we could have accommodated Target at the time, given our lack of available serviced land.

As a history prof of mine used to say: If you believe a thing to be true, then it is true in its consequences.

Many Brockvillians believe Cornwall's economic development department was on-Target while Brockville's was not. And the consequences of that perceived truth will spell trouble for city officials if Cornwall now ends up landing a job-creating industrial project Brockville rejected.

Some of those consequences may even spill into next year's municipal election.

All of which illustrates how, in politics, one often ends up solving one problem, only to create another – real or perceived – in the process.

(UPDATE: Cornwall's economic development manager, Mark Boileau, has informed me the city has not approached R.W. Tomlinson about the project. Which may offer some measure of relief to municipal councillors. Unless, of course, I have just put a bug in his ear...)