Stratford community group holds virtual celebration over glass plant decision
KITCHENER -- A community group in Stratford took a virtual victory lap Friday night after Xinyi Canada announced it would be suspending its proposed float glass facility in Stratford "indefinitely."
Get Concerned Stratford held the celebration online after holding multiple demonstrations at city hall over the fall and winter opposing the company’s plans.
“I just want to say I’m so proud of us, all of us, of the city, of all the effort put in. I’m so proud to be part of everything, even if it’s a small part, I’m just so thankful for everything that the community has done,” said Mellisa Verspeeten, a member of Get Concerned Stratford during the virtual celebration.
The group took issue with the potential environmental impact of the facility and what they say was a lack of transparency from city hall.
The proposed $400-million facility from Xinyi Canada was put on pause in January.
Then on Tuesday the company issued a statement announcing the suspension of its facility citing delays in approval from Stratford council.
In a statement, the company said that it is "greatly disappointed" that council hasn't been able to approve the cost-sharing agreement, which the company called "critical" to developing the plant.
The company also claimed that opposition groups "negatively impacts public perception of the project."
"Radical insinuations were made, with overt hostility demonstrated in opposition to the project’s development," the company's statement said in part.
Despite the decision Get Concerned Stratford says their work isn’t done, they are now asking the province to rescind the zoning order that allows them to make a ruling on land use with no chance for municipalities, citizens or environment groups to appeal.
Xinyi Canada had also tried to open a plant in Guelph-Eramosa Township back in 2018, but it didn't go forward due to environmental concerns.