Posted on May 19 2017
at cement plant public meeting
Rumbling storm clouds moved in from across the Ottawa River Thursday night. Inside the Vankleek Hill Arena the atmosphere was also stormy that evening even if most of the voices raised in protest did so in quieter tones.
Between 200 to 300 residents from across Champlain Township and from neighbouring communities like Hawkesbury gathered in the arena to both listen to proponents for and against a proposed cement plant development near the Village of L’Orignal and also add their arguments against the project.
Many, like Dr. Thomas Maxwell (pictured above) of L’Orignal expressed concern about the impact the project would have on the community’s health profile, both environmental and physical. Others taking their five-minute turns at the microphone argued to members of counties council present that a cement plant would not prove a gift to the local economy. They claimed it would lower neighbouring property values, ruin Champlain Township’s image of a “clean community”, and discourage some families from settling in the area.
Representatives for Colacem Canada Ltd., the company proposing the project, and Action Champlain, the local community group opposing it, made presentations at the start of the meeting. After that the rest of the evening was an open-mike lineup of speakers.
The cement plant project is in stasis for now as the Ontario Municipal Board must now schedule public hearings on appeal applications dealing with a rezoning request for the project.