“Colacem Canada welcomes the decision of the Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal,” said Marc Bataille, Colacem Canada technical director, in an email statement April 16 responding to a Tribune Express request for comment. “In the next few days we will proceed with an in-depth analysis of the decision.”
“Very disappointing,” said Mayor Normand Riopel of Champlain Township during a phone interview last Friday. “We’ll have to call council (together) to review the issue.”
Nicholas Robinson, a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal chairman (LPAT) for the Ontario Land Tribunals office, presided over hearings during November and December last year on Case PL170756, which concerned appeals of local planning decisions dealing with Colacem Canada Ltd.’s proposed cement plant project along County Road 17 near the village of L’Orignal.
The company was appealing a decision by Champlain Township against the project while Action Champlain, a local citizens group, was appealing a decision of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) in favour of it. Robinson issued his decision on the case April 12 in a 69-page report that supports the company’s side on the issue.
“The tribunal orders that the appeal by Action Champlain is dismissed and amendment number 30 to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell Official Plan is approved,” stated Robinson. “The tribunal orders that the appeal by Colacem is allowed and (Champlain Township) bylaw number 2000-75 is amended in the manner generally set out in Attachment 1 to this order. The tribunal authorizes the municipal clerk to assign a number to this bylaw for record-keeping purposes.”
During his written summary of the case, Robinson noted that the company provided convincing evidence through its reports, project design work, and witness testimony to support its claim that the proposed cement plant would not cause harm to local water supplies for neighbouring properties or create noise pollution or traffic problems for the area. He also determined that the proposed project met provincial planning standards for economic development within a rural area.
Robinson stated that Action Champlain’s witnesses raised several valid points for the tribunal to consider before making its decision. But he also noted that the group did not provide expert witnesses to rebut all of the expert witness testimony for Colacem and that several statements from Action Champlain’s witnesses supported the company’s technical claims.
Cement plant project
Colacem Canada has a 56-hectare property along County Road 17, several kilometres east of L’Orignal. The site has a quarry that would provide limestone as the main ingredient for a cement production plant. The project has been on hold since June 2016 while both the company and Action Champlain filed their appeals and prepared their cases before the LPAT hearing last fall.
Construction of the cement plant would provide 200 jobs over a two- or three-year period. The plant, when it begins operation, would provide 125 permanent jobs.
“As a reminder,” Bataille said, “the cement plant project in L’Orignal will use the latest technology available to become an industry leader.”
At present there is no statement from Colacem Canada on when construction might begin on the project or if the company still plans to go ahead with its proposal.