What is wrong with the UCPR?

To the editor:

Frankly, it makes no sense. The council of the UCPR recently voted in favour of changing the official plan to allow the multinational industrial giant Colacem to construct a cement plant in Champlain Township. It did this despite the Champlain Township Council and its citizens solidly rejecting the idea. It also did this despite the other ‘downwind’ municipal councils similarly rejecting the idea. So much for county solidarity, not to mention the opinions of those citizens who will be most affected. But at least it’s understandable in terms of greed. The other townships making up the UCPR want Colacem’s tax dollars and, apparently, are prepared to sacrifice the health and future of somebody else to get them. Thanks for that. We won’t forget.
But here’s where it makes no sense. Prescott Russell exists between two of Canada’s richest cities. An hours’ drive in either direction and you’re there. It therefore stands to reason that development is not just good, it’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. And so we, the inhabitants, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, looked forward to a mix of retirement communities, commuter villages, parks, shopping areas, professional buildings, schools, health care facilities, golf courses, marinas, etc. Hundreds if not thousands of new jobs, a very large and stable tax base and controlled economic growth that would, at the same time, preserve our beautiful, green and blue corner of the world. Instead, the UCPR wants to build a cement plant.
A cement plant? What are they  thinking? The biggest, dirtiest, ugliest industrial dinosaur there is, effectively shutting down all other development for decades, if not generations.

Nothing, literally nothing else is going to be built once this monster is in place. Forget green and prosperous development. Forget any controlled economic growth. Think NO economic growth, unless you count yet more heavy polluting industry. The UCPR in general and the eastern half of it in particular will become a sad, dirty, polluted place and the only people who will ever see it will be motorists speeding on to somewhere else with the windows rolled well up. All those jobs, all that potential prosperity simply thrown away? And all for some short term tax dollars?  This simply makes no sense either economically or environmentally. What is wrong with the county council and the UCPR?

Ghislaine Pichardie
and
Colin Affleck

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