From: Wellington Water Watchers
STRATFORD, Ont. – A citizens’ group opposed to a project that would bring a one-million-square-foot Chinese-owned float glass plant to The Festival City is building its case while questioning Stratford City Council’s lack of transparency and public consultation throughout the process.
Get Concerned Stratford is holding a public rally at noon on Monday, Nov. 23 outside Stratford City Hall just before Stratford city council discusses a proposed cost sharing agreement with the Xinyi Glass Factory Corporation at a virtual meeting of Council.
The local citizens’ group opposes the $400-million Xinyi Glass Factory project and the imposition of a provincial Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) to convert 175 acres of prime agricultural land into industrial land without public consultation. The group believes the environmental and social impacts of the Xinyi proposal demands extensive public debate, as well as a review of the MZO.
“This is not a done deal as some will have you believe” says Melissa Verspeeten, spokesperson for Get Concerned Stratford. “There are critical questions, such as how this will affect the availability and ongoing security of the community’s drinking water, the quality of the air residents breathe and the quality of life taxpayers have enjoyed in our beautiful, internationally-celebrated town.”
Get Concerned Stratford has also enlisted the support of fellow resident Loreena McKennitt, who has been an activist on a number of local issues, but is perhaps best known for her highly-successful music career. In a new video appearing on her YouTube channel she expresses her concerns:
“Although I may be a well-known person professionally, in this community I consider myself as just one more citizen, one more voice,” says McKennitt. “I truly believe our elected officials must go out of their way to prove that they can be trusted. That means enhancing transparency and ensuring full disclosure of critical information in a timely fashion – information which is often complex and technical and demands time to digest and opportunities to respond.”
Scott Wishart, a long-time Stratford resident, put it this way in a recent letter to the editor in the Stratford Beacon Herald: “A number of city councilors and staff at investStratford seem hell-bent on ramming a controversial glass plant development down the throats of Stratford residents in record time, allowing a mere one hour of public input along the way.”
Public opposition to the proposed glass factory includes concerns related to the current strained relations between Canada and China and there is support for trying to harmonize Stratford’s position with the federal government’s in terms of human rights and the ‘rule of law’.
Because of the pandemic and the Perth District Health Unit’s advisory on public gatherings, Monday’s protest will be limited to 100 people, all of whom will be required to remain socially distant and wear masks.
To this end, those wishing to participate are required to register through Eventbrite.
The Stratford group is also being supported by the Wellington Water Watchers, the organization which successfully led the 2018 fight to stop the Xinyi plant from locating in Guelph Eramosa Township.
For more information, contact:
Melissa Verspeeten [email protected] (519) 272-4830