To The Editor,

As we all know, Champlain Township’s Administration is in the process of determining if it will approve the Site Plan that Colacem has submitted and requires to construct its proposed L’Orignal cement plant project.

The criteria that the township must respect in reaching its decision are outlined in the “More Homes for Everyone Act”.  Known as Bill 109, this law came into effect on July 1st. Colacem submitted its Site Plan Approval Request on July 4th.

Under this new law, the Ford government has rendered it such that all municipal Site Plan Approval decisions are no longer made by elected Municipal Councils but rather by municipal staff. 

The law has not removed the municipal staff from asking a Site Plan applicant, – in this case, Colacem — questions that the municipality believes are important factors in its duty to ensure that any construction project in its jurisdiction takes all of those steps and measures available to it to prevent and mitigate the potential known risks to the health and welfare of citizens, lands, waters and animals associated to the building project in question.

That said, at its Thursday, November 10th meeting Champlain Township Council instructed its staff to ask Colacem if it is prepared to pledge that its proposed cement plant will meet the same GHG emissions reductions that those cement companies that are signatories to the Partnership agreement between the Cement Association of Canada and the Government of Canada (GC) have pledged to meet.

If Colacem is willing to do so, it will be committing itself to seeing that, by 2030, its yet to be built cement plant’s annual GHG emissions tonnage will be reduced by 40% from the projected tonnage already identified, and a further 60% over the course of the 20 year period between 2030 and 2050 (at which time it will have reached net-zero annual emissions production).

If both the Cement Association of Canada and the Government of Canada are true to their Partnership Agreement commitments, what a great opportunity for Colacem to become a cement industry leader by building “ a model cement plant” that can be built with the support of the Cement Association and the Government of Canada.

What a great opportunity for Colacem to demonstrate, in a tangible way, that it is a responsible corporate citizen that respects the ecological, environmental and socio-economic health concerns and expressed by the Champlain Township and its inhabitants. 

 I fully understand the fears the township believes it might be exposed to if it denies Colacem’s requested “green light”. 

Due diligence is in order and the township should rely on its legal advisors for an opinion on this matter. 

While I am no lawyer, I believe it is correct to say that the only legal recourse Colacem would have to contest such a township decision would be to seek a Judicial Review of said decision.

I remain hopeful that the Champlain Township does not approve Colacem’s Site Plan should it refuse to voluntarily commit itself to the same GHG emission reductions pledge as those of its peers who are members of the Cement Association of Canada that are signatories to the Partnership agreement between the Cement Association of Canada and the Government of Canada. 

I thank the Champlain Township Council and that of its staff for their  determination to always put the health and welfare of their citizens above all else.

Gary Champagne, Ottawa