July 13, 2018 4:04 pm
Updated: July 13, 2018 4:07 pm

Xinyi Glass development near Guelph faces critical vote

Xinyi Glass Canada Limited wants to build a massive facility on a piece of land at Wellington roads 124 and 32 in Guelph-Eramosa Township.

Matt Carty / CJOY News

A massive $450-million  glass plant development just outside of Guelph could be shelved as early as Monday night if the mayor and councillors of Guelph-Eramosa Township vote in favour of a motion at the meeting.

The proposed facility near the intersection of Wellington roads 124 and 32 is expected to be two million square feet and would operate year round, 24 hours a day.

READ MORE: Glass plant proposal draws ire from Guelph-Eramosa residents

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The main issue surrounds the amount of water the plant proposes to take from the ground. On average, the Xinyi plant will use 1.56 million litres of water per day, according to a report prepared by consultant GSP Group Inc.

GSP said that works out to about 1.2 million litres per day when some of the recycled water is factored in.

A motion is being brought forward for Monday’s meeting by Guelph-Eramosa Township councillor David Wolk.

The motion calls for councillors to refuse the application by Xinyi Glass to build its facility since it does not meet the zoning bylaw definition of “dry use.”

“Dry use is one of those terms that may not be completely defined but it certainly means that you could not operate something that is a significant water-user,” Wolk said in an interview on Friday. “It is abundantly clear that the amount of water the Xinyi Glass plant would require is certainly more than significant.”

BELOW: Councillor David Wolk speaks with CJOY News reporter Matt Carty

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Wolk said he would like to see something built on the land, but not a facility that takes as much water.

A spokesperson for Xinyi Glass said it is unfair to halt the project midway through the legislated application process.

READ MORE: GRCA calling for a 10 per cent reduction in water consumption

“Somebody put in an application and it triggered the process. We’re not going to then usurp that process midstream. That would send a message to businesses that you are closed,” company spokesperson Neil Dunsmore said. “You come in here, you put in an application, you need to allow the process to play through.”

Dunsmore said consultants hired by Xinyi have found the average daily water usage for the glass plant falls below the Ministry of Environment’s stipulated allowance for light industrial use.

Below: Xinyi Glass spokesperson Neil Dunsmore speaks with CJOY News reporter Matt Carty

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“They need to know from those experts that they hired, is there enough water here? Are we going to affect water negatively to the point where wells run dry and we’re going to go out of business as well?” Dunsmore explained. “They need to get to that stage to run those tests, to prove their math, to prove numbers that they have.”

“If those numbers do not come true [Xinyi] is not going to invest, but if those number don’t come true, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change are going to shut them down.”

Susan McSherry with GET Concerned said the group has collected over 1,500 signatures for a petition against the development.

The council meeting is scheduled to take place at Parkwood Gardens Community Church on Whitelaw Road on Monday at 7 p.m.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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