Xinyi Canada suspends proposed glass facility 'indefinitely,' citing Stratford council delays
KITCHENER -- Xinyi Canada has announced that it will be suspending its proposed float glass facility in Stratford "indefinitely," 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.
One vocal group that was against the facility was Get Concerned Stratford, which staged several protests about the proposed plant.
Residents had raised concerns about the plant's potential environmental impact, along with concerns that employees may live at the Xinyi plant despite the city saying it's not part of the company's plan.
The group had previously said it was worried about the use of the zoning order, which allows the province to make a ruling on land use with no chance for municipalities, citizens or environment groups to appeal.
Residents were concerned about water usage at the plant.
"The projected water usage for this plant was 25 per cent of Stratford's consumption already, so it would increase significantly," said Melissa Verspeeten with Get Concerned Stratford.
They also said the process wasn't transparent and planning started two years before it was made public.
"The process has been kept secret," Verspeeten said. "The public didn't find out about any of that or the fact the glass plant was coming here until October 30. So there were two yers that there were some of sort of backdoor deals that we didn't know about."
Xinyi Canada noted that 12 technical studies had been done to comply with regulatory requirements, including safety and environmental ones.
"The facility’s advanced air quality management system would have been capable of meeting even more stringent air quality standards to be introduced in 2023," the company said.
The proposed $400-million facility was put on pause in January.
In its Tuesday press release, Xinyi Canada noted that the plant would have brought some 380 "permanent, high-skilled and well-paid jobs" to Stratford in the next five years.
The city said it hasn't received official word from Xinyi about the decision, but Mayor Don Mathieson said they did what they could to answer the questions from the public.
The company had also tried to open a plant in Guelph-Eramosa Township back in 2018, but it didn't go forward due to environmental concerns.