Action Champlain has issued an update on the Site Plan and Fisheries Act approvals involving a application by Colacem to construct a cement plant adjacent to its existing quarry on County Road 17 near L’Orignal. Questions were also raised about the project at a recent meeting of Champlain Township Council. Action Champlain is an organization of area citizens who have consistently opposed the proposed cement plant and has made past unsuccessful legal challenges to the project and continues to closely scrutinize the plan. 

According to a news release issued by Action Champlain, the organization has contacted the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and learned Colacem had not yet filed a required application under the Fisheries Act to proceed with the infilling of the Charlebois Creek that Colacem had requested in a Project Review with the DFO. It is unknown how long this application will take, but this work does not fit the criteria for issuance of an emergency authorization under the Fisheries Act. When the application is submitted for authorization, consultation with any potentially affected Indigenous communities would be one of the requirements that has to be met prior to issuance of the authorization. 

Action Champlain says Champlain Township is aware of the situation and consultants for Colacem continue their work.  

Champlain Township has informed Action Champlain that Colacem is, through a condition of its future site plan agreement, responsible to obtain all required provincial and federal approvals for their project. 

The Site Plan is being reviewed in accordance with the Planning Act and the municipality’s Site Plan Control By-law and applicable standards and guidelines. The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) has received the Site Plan for review and comments as the project fronts County Road 17. 

At the August 11 Champlain Township Council Meeting, L’Orignal Ward Councillor Andre Roy expressed a lack of confidence in the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, and the UCPR to protect the environmental and health interests of residents near the site of the proposed cement plant. 

“How can we protect our citizens?” Roy asked. 

He wondered if the equipment could be purchased to monitor air and water quality independently.  

Acting Chief Administrative Officer Kévin Tessier said it is possible to work with a senior planner to find a response to Roy’s inquiry. 

At that meeting, Tessier also said more information on the Site Plan will be available in September. The approaching availability of that information was also confirmed by Action Champlain in its recent news release. The township has advised Action Champlain that the first round of comments received on the project will be provided at the beginning of September to Colacem. Site Plans are not subject to public consultation or approval from council due to recent changes in provincial legislation. 

On August 11, Longueuil Ward Councillor Violaine Tittley asked if the Colacem application was incomplete or missing anything in terms of Site Plan Control.  

Tessier said the application was considered complete at that time.