Posted on Monday, March 19, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.
Action Champlain receives funding aid from Champlain Township
Champlain Township will help Action Champlain with the costs of its legal battle against Colacem Canada Ltd. At least up to the amount of $50,000.
Council approved by a split vote of five to three with one abstention a resolution from Coun. Helen MacLeod. The resolution is to provide financial aid for Action Champlain’s appeal on a rezoning application to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
“I believe we should support Action Champlain,” MacLeod said, noting that township council has already taken a public stand against the company.
Last month Action Champlain asked council to help cover part of the group’s legal costs for its campaign against Colacem Canada Ltd.’s plan to build a cement plant near the Village of L’Orignal. The group asked council to commit to $200,000, which would be about half the projected legal and technical costs of its appeal to the OMB.
Action Champlain is appealing to the OMB against the United Counties of Prescott-Russell’s decision to approve the company’s rezoning request on the proposed site for the project. The township faces the legal costs of an appeal to the OMB from Colacem Canada because council rejected the rezoning request.
The public gallery was full (see photo) during a special Saturday morning session March 17 as township council approved MacLeod’s resolution to provide a one-time-only donation of $50,000 to Action Champlain. The resolution passed five votes to three with Coun. Normand Riopel abstaining and excusing himself from the general discussion on the grounds of possible conflict of interest.
Councillors Gérard Miner, Marc Séguin, and Pierre Perrault voted against the resolution, expressing concern that it would set a precedent for other funding aid requests and also concern that the donation would be at the expense of other municipal budget needs for the township.
“We voted against the zoning change,” said Mayor Barton, who voted for the MacLeod resolution, “and now we’re putting our money where our mouth is by supporting this (appeal).”
“We’re happy council chose to put the resources to defend their own decision,” said Charles Despins, founding director of Action Champlain.
Action Champlain has been funding both its lobby campaign and appeal so far through public donations. The group has raised about $100,000 on its own and spent about $70,000 on legal costs and consultant fees. Action Champlain will hold a public information meeting April 12 in L’Orignal to update residents of the village on the status of the appeal and the projected total cost.