Is the UCPR working for its population?

To the editor:

You can understand that this project and method of not addressing the concerns of the population has raised many questions. The cleavage in votes from the local mayors with respect to the mayors from other municipalities that will be much less affected by this project raises doubts in the minds of many…especially that from a mayor that represents a population that said no to an asphalt plant and yes, even though his vote did not count, to a source of pollution and nuisance infinitely more problematic than an asphalt plant.
What is the point of public consultations when the concerns are not addressed and/or taken into consideration…this is not a democratic process that we have experienced…far from it. We have read all the documents submitted for this project and it is of no reassurance to us. It is a socially unacceptable project that has put much stress on the population and obviously much more on the residents of the outlining area around this project proposal as they will be most affected by this…in terms of both pollution and nuisance. The UCPR has put the population in opposition with it’s decision to change the zoning from rural to heavy industrial. The resulting court battle(s) will undoubtedly quickly find it’s way to national attention and most likely put negative press on our regional decision makers and region as a whole. This will also most likely hurt our local economy and that for a very long time…in this process there will be no winners (except for lawyers, experts and possibly the top shareholders in Italy…if the OMB gives them reason)…all will pay dearly in one way or another…and that because of a very questionable and unjust vote, at least in the eyes of the majority of the population. In this context, we are all human and the population truly believes that they have been let down if not betrayed by our decision makers…at the root of our problems is the revised Official Plan and the recommendation from the report of the UCPR planning department. This recommendation for approval does not seem to follow the rationale of the report. A cement plant or any other heavy industry too close to people cannot be considered good planning. This is not what one could call “best practice in rural planning”…meaning that people should also be considered in the analysis and approval process. No Official Plan should create potential land use conflicts.
Last Thursday evening, our Lawyer, Me Ronald Caza made a presentation to explain to us the appeal process and to tell us that yes we should appeal…we have a case! We now have an amazing litigation team, with an excellent rural planner that likes to work with communities and we also have an environmental expert.
Almost everyone that was present that evening made a contribution. As a community we can have much more clout and resources. We have to work together to fight for our future. Please send us a commitment pledge with your name, where you live, where we can reach you and your pledge amount to the following email: [email protected]
Let’s not let our decision makers turn Champlain into the pollution hub of Eastern Ontario. Let’s act on this collectively…for our health and future!

Michael Santella
Action Champlain
L’Orignal