Proposed glass plant rejected by Guelph-Eramosa Township council

Guelph-Eramosa Township Council voted in a favour of a motion on Monday night to reject the application for a glass plant west of Guelph. Matt Carty / CJOY News

A proposal to build a massive glass plant outside the western border of Guelph has been rejected by the Guelph-Eramosa Township council.

In a 4-1 vote on Monday night, councillors upheld a bylaw that effectively refuses Xinyi Glass’ application to build its facility near Highway 124 and Wellington Road 32 since it does not meet the zoning bylaw definition of “dry use.”

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Xinyi Glass has said the two-million-square-foot facility would need 1.56 million litres of water per day.

“What we have cast in stone is a bylaw that says we must observe dry use,” said Coun. David Wolk, who moved the motion to reject the application. “1.6 million litres — folks, that’s a lot of water.”

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It’s unclear what Xinyi Glass will do next since representatives of the company did not comment following council’s decision. It is possible to appeal the council’s decision.

The lone dissenting vote came from Coun. Mark Bouwmeester, who spoke for about 45 minutes before the vote, much to the chagrin of most of the 300 people gathered.

Bouwmeester was heckled while he argued that the application process should be followed to the end and voting in favour of the motion was unfair to Xinyi Glass.

“How are they going to feel? Because they did everything they were supposed to do,” Bouwmeester said afterwards. “We told them to do a whole bunch of studies and reports, and that’s exactly what they did and we chose to ignore all of that.”

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Susan McSherry with the group GET Concerned said her group had received around 1,700 signatures on a petition against the glass plant.

“[I’m] very proud of our council for standing up and admitting that our bylaw is our bylaw and it must be upheld,” McSherry said while adding she hopes Xinyi finds another location.
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