It’s up to three Superior Court justices to decide if Action Champlain’s appeal of a decision by the Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) may proceed.

On April 12, the LPAT ruled in favour of Colacem’s plan to build a cement plant adjacent to its existing quarry on County Road 17 west of L’Orignal. The quarry is to be the source of stone used at the cement plant. Action Champlain opposes the cement plant. The LPAT rejected an appeal by Action Champlain of an Official Plan Amendment approved by United Counties of Prescott and Russell council which was required to permit the construction of the plant. The LPAT also granted Colacem’s request to overturn a decision made by Champlain Township council to reject a Zoning By-law Amendment that was required for the plant site.

On April 21, Action Champlain decided it would proceed with an application to appeal the LPAT decision in Divisional Court, after its Ottawa-based lawyers Ronald Caza and Gabriel Poliquin determined there are legitimate legal arguments which can be made. The application was filed on the April 27 deadline and three Superior Court justices are now reviewing it in order to determine if the appeal may be heard in court.

The decision by Action Champlain to proceed with the appeal was also contingent on fundraising to cover legal costs.

According to Action Champlain, within one week, the organization raised $65,000. However, it also wants Champlain Township to support the cause and is asking council for a $50,000 contribution towards its goal of raising $110,000 to cover costs associated with the appeal.

“With 95% of the population living within a radius of 5km of the proposed location of this cement plant having said no to this project..normally this should be an easy decision.  These families and individuals are contributing taxes to our township. This $50,000 will be a very, very small percentage of these taxes,” said Michael Santella of Action Champlain.

An application for an appeal must be based entirely on finding legal arguments against the decision made by the LPAT. The application document filed by Action Champlain’s lawyers with the Divisional Court in Ottawa identifies three alleged errors the LPAT made in reaching its decision.

The first alleged error is that the LPAT incorrectly interpreted the term ‘exploitation of aggregate minerals’, and ‘associated facility’, in the 2020 Provincial Policy Statement on land use planning, by giving precedence to the policy statement rather than the Aggregate Resources Act.

Secondly, the appeal application alleges the LPAT did not give sufficient reasons for how it interpreted a series of policy guidelines in its decision.

The third error Action Champlain alleges the LPAT made is that it encroached on the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, when it concluded that Colacem probably would have obtained the necessary approvals for the joint operation of the quarry and cement plant from the ministry.