“When we’re talking about the environment, it’s the ministry’s responsibility,” said Mayor Pierre Leroux of Russell Township. “The whole issue we had in the past was a planning issue. It wasn’t about the environment. So I have no problem whatsoever supporting Champlain Township in sending a letter asking the ministry to do their studies, review the information to make sure the residents are well-covered.”
Mayor Leroux was the first to declare support during the October 27 session of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) for Champlain Township’s letter to the provincial environment ministry for a review and new assessment of the environmental impact of Colacem Canada’s proposed cement plant project near L’Orignal. The township argues that the original assessment does not consider the impact of both the existing quarry operation on the site and planned cement plant.
Russell Township’s mayor referred to the UCPR taking an opposing position to Champlain Township on Colacem Canada’s planning applications for amendments to both the local zoning category of the proposed cement plant site and its classification in the Official Plan (OP) for land use in Prescott-Russell. Champlain Township rejected the company’s request for a zoning change while the UCPR approved, by a registered majority vote, approval for the OP change application. The issue went to appeal before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which ruled in favour of Colacem Canada.
Most of the other mayors agreed with Leroux’s argument that supporting a request for an environmental assessment review of the proposed cement plant project differs from supporting a land use application. UCPR council voted, by a registered majority, to support Champlain Township’s request to the ministry. Champlain Township Mayor Normand Riopel abstained from the vote according to policy.