Coun­ties coun­cil un­chan­ged on ce­ment plant vote

Tribune Express - - ACTUALITÉS • NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

Boos and cries of “Shame” gree­ted the re­sults of a se­cond vote by coun­ties coun­cil on a re­zo­ning re­quest for a contro­ver­sial ce­ment plant pro­ject in L’Ori­gnal.

The eight mayors on the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell coun­cil (UCPR) fa­ced a stan­ding-room-on­ly au­dience Wed­nes­day mor­ning, as the spec­ta­tor gal­le­ry of coun­cil cham­ber was pa­cked du­ring a June 14 spe­cial pu­blic mee­ting for a re­view and se­cond vote on a zo­ning amend­ment re­quest to the Of­fi­cial Plan (OP).

The vo­cal pro­tests be­gan as Plan­ning and Fo­res­try di­rec­tor Louis Pré­vost read out the con­clu­sion of the se­cond re­view re­port. The re­port re­com­men­da­tion was for UCPR coun­cil to stand by its ori­gi­nal vote to al­low the re­zo­ning amend­ment in spite of op­po­si­tion from around the Vil­lage of L’Ori­gnal.

“It is still ve­ry clear that part of the po­pu­la­tion of the re­gion of L’Ori­gnal is concer­ned with this pro­ject,” Pré­vost sta­ted. “Des­pite this strong pu­blic op­po­si­tion, there is no rea­son to change my ini­tial re­com­men­da­tion. It is my pro­fes­sio­nal plan­ning opi­nion that OPA 30 to the coun­ty Of­fi­cial Plan re­pre­sents good plan­ning and that it conforms to the Pro­vin­cial Po­li­cy Sta­te­ment 2014.”

At that point, and se­ve­ral times la­ter du­ring the spe­cial mee­ting, the boos and other vo­cal pro­tests be­came so loud that war­den Ga­ry Bar­ton, who re­pre­sents Cham­plain Town­ship as mayor, had to call for or­der and even threa­ten to ei­ther eject anyone who conti­nued to dis­rupt the mee­ting or clear the cham­ber al­to­ge­ther.

The OP amend­ment deals with a piece of pro­per­ty just out­side of the Vil­lage of L’Ori­gnal in Cham­plain Town­ship, where Co­la­cem Ca­na­da Ltd. plans to build a ce­ment plant. The pro­ject has been the focus of contro­ver­sy for months now with lo­cal re­si­dents, town­ship coun­cil, and Ac­tion Cham­plain, a grass­roots com­mu­ni­ty group, all op­po­sed to the pro­ject and the re­zo­ning.

Ear­lier in the year, UCPR coun­cil had ap­pro­ved the re­zo­ning change to the OP but then de­ci­ded to hold a se­cond re­view of the is­sue, along with ano­ther pu­blic hea­ring, to deal with a com­plaint from Ac­tion Cham­plain about a pro­ce­du­ral er­ror with the ori­gi­nal pu­blic re­view pro­cess. The se­cond pu­blic hea­ring took place last month in Vank­leek Hill, with more than 400 people at­ten­ding, and the se­cond vote was then sche­du­led for June 14.

The re­sults of the re­gis­te­red vote re­mai­ned the same with five of the eight mayors vo­ting for the zo­ning amend­ment. Mayors Ga­ry Bar­ton of Cham­plain Town­ship, Ro­bert Kir­by of East Haw­kes­bu­ry Town­ship, and Jeanne Char­le­bois of the Town of Haw­kes­bu­ry vo­ted against the amend­ment. A re­gis­te­red vote means that the ac­tual tal­ly consi­de­red the “weight” of the vote for each mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty re­pre­sen­ted on coun­ties coun­cil. The weigh­ted vote re­sult was 19-7 for the amend­ment.

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