To The Editor,

In response to recent letters criticizing my opinion and support for the Colacem Plant, necessitates clarification of my agenda.

Yes, climate is the important issue of our time. The point of the letter entitled “Reality Check” was to put an emphasis on the continuing growth of the human race explosion to this planet. The rate of 83 million persons per year and how that impacts us all. Continuing growth at such a rate jeopardizes the ability to control the detrimental effects to climate resulting from this one event. In no way is that a signal to surrender.

The federal government announced its inability to comply with goals it set on climate initiatives and have deferred them to review in 2025, however, they are committed to achieve those goals by 2031.

My support of the cement plant is purely for the economic benefits projected to bring to the area. Investment from any source is not a reason to deny its development. If there was a alternative industry (cleaner industry) on the sidelines with the ability to render similar economic benefits, you bet the decision would be simple, but there isn’t.

Economics and climate initiatives run hand in hand with each other. We can not afford one without the other.

Mr.Despins referenced the Globe & Mail article (April 2019) wherein our federal government submitted its report which states Hawkesbury and area will be hit hardest by automation and technology. It also concluded communities in Newfoundland , P.E.I., B.C. and others subject to the same peril. Action Champlain’s leadership has emphasized the need to seek alternative industries and yet my challenges (2014 & 2016) to them to address the issue in collaboration with Champlain Township have not materialized to date.

The financial revenues from this facility would contribute greatly, if wisely managed by Champlain, in the development of projects drastically needed to sustain our future.

In order to achieve any development, we are inhibited by financial limitations on those items which must be addressed. Items on the list include;

A/ 1.7 M$ for infrastructure (water & sewage) for the industrial parks 17 acre expansion. No amount of marketing will entice prospective industry to the area if facilities are not immediately available to them. Inquiries have been received by council, however the lack of infrastructure is a deterrent.

B/ 10 M$ for upgrades to our Municipal infrastructure overhaul in accordance with Provincial regulations to maintain the assets value. An example is King Street here in L’Orignal’s leaking water supply system in need of rehab is on hold because funds are not available, just to name one.

C/ $400,000 plus to rectify the structural integrity of the VKH Library calculated by the first engineering report. Council approved funds to obtain a second engineering assessment of the problem. To date, no acknowledgement of a report has been received. My opinion(once again) is to relocate the library to new quarters as the existing facility should be written off as having NO VALUE.) Sorry, that’s my experience in real estate evaluations speaking.

D/ $ 800,000 is the projected repair estimate to the roof of the VKH Arena. The Township applied for funding assistance and their application was rejected.

Prior to COVID and the Township rightly shutting down in person attendance at Council meetings, in the past 13 years I made it a point to attend at least 95% of those meetings and especially budgetary ones. In doing so, it has given insight on the challenges confronting Members of Council when responding to community wishes. What is clear is the cost attributed to those wishes. Question: Would the community support a substantial increase to the tax levy to create financial reserves required to preserve our future?

Mr. Champagne’s characterization implying I chastise our youth is completely without merit. I recognize their concerns. At one of the last public council meetings, a presentation was made by a young grade school girl wherein she expressed her concern for the need to promote more composting by residents, thereby diverting waste to our landfills. Youth migration has been and still is a cycle we face every graduation year and I have voiced my concern on several occasions. I applaud Council for their participation in a program to support students to work in local companies for experience and are rewarded by financial support in their future academic studies. Only time will define what percentage of participants will return to start their careers here.

There is no issue when it comes to respecting the community’s choice, provided the community is informed completely as to the effects and the consequences of their decision.

I trust this may clarify my intent.

Jim Walsh, L’Orignal