Residents petition against proposed glass factory
Published Thursday, July 12, 2018 8:58AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2018 8:59AM EDT
A proposed glass factory in Guelph-Eramosa Township is facing backlash from area residents.
Xinyi, a glass company based out of China, has proposed a $450-million facility that covers 2-million square feet along County Road 32 in Guelph.
Float glass is a glass sheet which is made by allowing the glass to cool on a molten bed of metal.
Float glass manufacturing is a dry operation, which means it does not create industrial effluent; rather the water is used for cooling and operational controls.
The group ‘Get Concerned’ has started a petition against the project and has gathered more than 1,000 signatures in three days.
Their concerns are around an increase in traffic and noise, as well as water usage.
The float glass plant will require upwards of 1-million litres of water per day during the manufacturing process and that number isn’t sitting well with residents.
“In an area where drinking water is already in jeopardy that’s a significant waste of water,” says Susan McSherry, the spokesperson for ‘Get Concerned’.
The Wellington Water Watchers are also keeping a close eye on the proposed factory.
“No water means no economic growth,” says Robert Chase, the chair of the water watchers. “At some point we’ve got to wise up and make sure we’re managing that appropriately for long term growth.”
The Hong Kong-based company says it will be incorporating water conservation measures into the new facility.
Neil Dunsmore, a spokesperson for Xinyi, says the company plans to replenish the water it uses.
“They have a water retention system on their roof to capture rain water and get it below the surface,” says Dunsmore.
He also says a language barrier is causing miscommunications which have led to the community backlash.
On Monday, council will vote whether or not to move ahead with the project.
Xinyi says the factory would generate 400 jobs and, if it’s approved, construction would start within the next two years.