Xinyi Canada Glass suspends proposed Stratford factory
STRATFORD – Xinyi Canada Glass Limited is suspending its float glass project in Stratford indefinitely, the company announced this week.
In a press release, the company states that it will be pulling out to avoid further financial losses and damage to reputation brought on by “misinformation and falsehoods spread by small opposition groups (that) have negatively impacted public perception of the project.”
“Radical insinuations were made, with overt hostility demonstrated in opposition to the project’s development.”
In January, the City of Stratford deferred council’s decision on a proposed cost-sharing agreement between the city and Xinyi Canada Glass Limited, because of the provincial emergency stay-at-home order.
In 2018, the city requested a Minister’s Zoning Order from the province to rezone a parcel of land next to an industrial park from agricultural to industrial.
In July 2020, a minister’s zoning order rezoned the land so that it would be used exclusively for a float glass producing facility.
InvestStratford released an announcement about the project in October 2020.
In response to the company’s suspension of the project, Loreena McKennitt, founder of Wise Communities Stratford, a citizen group opposed to the project said in a statement, “It was the wisest decision. I think we have all learned a great deal through this exercise.”
“Let’s remember, we were also not the first community to turn this project down.”
A similar plant was proposed just outside Guelph and was turned down by Guelph/Eramosa Township Council in 2018.
The project in Stratford was expected to provide more than 300 permanent jobs, require $400 million to build the plant, and generate $3 million in property taxes annually.
The company’s statement said that the facility would have complied with all federal, provincial and municipal environmental requirements, and exceed current air quality standards.
Those opposing the project cited concerns with air quality and water usage among other issues.
“The plant is expected to use 2.5 million litres of water per day at peak use, bringing Stratford’s total water usage up to 38.6 per cent of its supply,” said Chris Pidgeon, a spokesperson for the company in an earlier email to The Record.
Float glass is a type of glass made by floating sheets of liquid glass on a bath of liquid tin and requires heating the material to 1,600 C. Float glass is used to make large sheets of glass for items like car windshields and windows.
In 2018, Canada was the world’s third-highest importer of float glass.
By Leah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, WATERLOO REGION RECORD