Having 400 permanent new jobs and a stronger tax base is certainly an attractive story but we just hope that the positives don’t blind us into doing things that are not in our best interests. This facility was looking at utilizing 1.6M litres of water a day in Guelph and it was rejected because they didn’t want to damage their aquifer. Stratford has been told it will take 1.2M litres. We seem to be downplaying the consumption of water which either at 1.6M or 1.2M litres, will be significant. Before pressing forward, the Mayor should explain why doing this in Stratford is acceptable. His comparison of 1.2M litres a day on an average golf course is misleading. One golf course we contacted has a 358,000 litre per day limit (1/3 of what Xinyi will take) and people understand that Ontario golf courses are not watering their lawns 365 days per year.
What will Xinyi Glass’s daily maximum draw and annual maximum draw be? Does the city have the capacity to manage the treatment of the facility's waste water? Has Stratford promised anything special to Xinyi Glass that will be borne by the rate payers? Is the infrastructure related to this facility being covered by Xinyi Glass. Are you providing Xinyi any tax breaks?
If Xinyi is going to build in Ontario or Canada, let’s make sure it’s done in a responsible way. The company looked at a site in Bath Ontario that we would have thought “checked all the boxes” but they passed it by. Perhaps there was a good reason however water supply, rail, electricity, gas, proximity to the 401 were not a problem, not to mention that the farmland that they would have consumed was scrub land in Bath vs prime land in Stratford. It is important to protect prime agricultural land. Furthermore using surface water from a Great Lake rather than water from an aquifer seems far more logical. We agree with Doug Ford that we should support new business but let’s steward our resources and help get this project located in the spot that makes the most sense for Xinyi and Ontario.
Fresh water is our most valuable natural resource. Many municipalities and countries have a shortage now (California, for example) and we feel if Stratford agrees to this glass plant they will regret it down the road.
Jackie and Tom Collings
(former Perth County Engineer)