Action Champlain is holding a bilingual general meeting on Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at Saint-Jean-Baptiste school gymnasium in l’Orignal. The citizens’ group is opposed to the Colacem cement plant being proposed for the L’Orignal area and recently received $50,000 in financial support from Champlain Township. The citizens’ group will be using the funds to pay for expert reports and to prepare its case against the cement plant.

Champlain Township council voted against a zoning change which was needed by Colacem in order to proceed with the project, but the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, in a divided vote, approved the zoning change. Both approvals are needed in order for the project to go ahead. But in the meantime, Colacem appealed Champlain Township council’s decision and Action Champlain appealed the counties’ decision. All arguments will be heard during a single hearing, set for September 2018.

The lawyers hired by Action Champlain – Ron Caza and Gabriel Poliquin – are on the agenda for the April 12 meeting and will provide an update of what has been done and what will need to be done for the group to be ready for the Ontario Municipal Board hearings scheduled for September 2018.

A post on Action Champlain’s Facebook page says that the group will discuss Champlain Township’s contribution and its position.

“How do we as a community go from there? We need to put up a strong opposition to this socially unacceptable, radical change in zoning that would transform our region into a smokestack community,” says an invitation to attend the meeting.

“In order to do this we need a strong commitment from our community. So please, bring your family, neighbours and friends. A collective effort and participation will strengthen our actions!”

To date, Action Champlain has relied on volunteers and financial contributions from citizens to mount its case against the cement plant. But it is gearing up for more fundraising and is looking for additional volunteers and supporters.