After a hiatus which lasted more than one year since an Ontario Municipal Board OMB) double-hearing was postponed, it looks like the case may be finally moving forward.
Colacem, which is proposing to build a cement plant in Champlain Township, appealed the township’s refusal to the Ontario Municipal Board when the township voted against changing zoning regulations to permit the construction to proceed. But when the same proposed zoning changes were approved by the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), Action Champlain, a citizens group opposed to the Colacem project, objected to the decision (the eight mayors on UCPR council were not unanimous in their support), filing an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board.
After the two appeals were filed, the OMB announced it would hear both appeals together. The OMB case had been set for September 2018, but it was postponed several days before it was to take place.
Now, a one-day case management conference (CMC) has been set for Tuesday, February 18, 2020 in the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council chambers at 59 Court Street in L’Orignal. The one-day CMC will deal with preliminary issues and all of those attending should come prepared to consider specific dates for proceedings in this matter, according to the notice from Environmental and Land Tribunals Ontario. Note that since these proceedings were launched, the Ontario Municipal Board has been replaced by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
All persons who wish to participate are expected to be prepared should the Tribunal convert the CMC to a settlement conference, a motion for procedural directions, or a preliminary hearing, where evident or form statements or submissions may be heard. Even when no settlement is reached, the Tribunal may proceed to make a final decision on any evidence received during the conference.
Tribunal proceedings, including the CMC, are open to the public and all documents filed in a proceeding will be included in the Tribunal’s public file (except those documents that may be deemed confidential in accordance with section 33(3) of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, 2017, as amended.)
The Tribunal will issue a disposition following the CMC that will set out the directions of the Tribunal. A copy of this decision may be obtained from the Tribunal’s website (https://elto.gov.on.ca/tribunals/lpat/e-decisions/) by referencing the case number: PL170765.
In March 2018, Champlain Township council approved giving $50,000 to Action Champlain for the group’s defence fund. Action Champlain volunteers have been organizing meetings and raising funds for its OMB defense for more than two years now. Its goal was to raise at least $225,000 to oppose the building of the cement plant; it says there is evidence that the plant would pose dangerous health risks for residents.
In June 2018, Colacem invited L’Orignal residents to visit its quarry as well as the proposed site for the cement plant project. The visit included a discussion on the project and the consultation process.
A notice prepared by Colacem for that open house said it was convinced that the project presents “great opportunities and tangible benefits, such as significant local and regional economic impacts. However, the company remains sensitive to the concerns that have been raised throughout the project authorization process.”