The Council of Canadians Guelph chapter is deeply concerned about a proposal from the Chinese corporation Xinyi to build a glass factory in Guelph/Eramosa Township.
Are you aware that the factory would draw 1.6 million litres of water a day from wells drilled deep into a sensitive aquifer that supplies drinking water to the City of Guelph? Or that the factory would be located just 14 kilometres west of where Nestlé currently extracts millions of litres of water per day for its bottled water business?
The City of Guelph has expressed concerns about the glass plant’s potential impact on Guelph’s water supply. The factory would be located in close proximity to the Queensdale Well, the city’s well that is most sensitive to interference. “Any new water takings within this area would be considered a significant drinking water threat and present a potential risk to the City’s water supply system,” said Derrick Thomson, Guelph’s Chief Administrative Officer in a letter to Guelph/Eramosa Township on May 9.
A 2017 Tier 3 Water Budget and Local Area Risk Assessment study for Guelph and Guelph/Eramosa predicted the Queensdale Well will not be able to meet the future needs of the city under normal climate conditions. Climate change is expected to adversely affect groundwater supplies in the area. This is simply not an appropriate location for such a water intensive factory.
The proposed seven storey-tall factory would spread over 2 million square feet and include a 300-foot chimney that would release sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide upwind from the City of Guelph, prompting concerns about acid rain from residents.
There are also trade concerns about the possible ramifications of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA). If the glass factory is approved, subsequent measures that put restrictions on its water takings could either be prevented or challenged by so-called “investment protection” provisions in the agreement.
On Monday July 16, Guelph/Eramosa Township will meet and vote on a motion from Councillor David Wolk to refuse any further consideration of the Xinyi Float Glass plant because the proposed development does not comply with requirements set out in the township’s comprehensive zoning by-law. Please take a moment before Monday to call your councillor and express opposition to this factory, which threatens groundwater reserves needed for community drinking water supplies.
You can also attend the Guelph/Eramosa Township Council meeting on Monday, July 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Parkwood Gardens Community Church, located at 501 Whitelaw Rd., Guelph.
Please join the Council of Canadians’ Guelph chapter and our allies at Wellington Water Watchers and GETconcerned.org to support the local fight against this ill-conceived proposal and share this message with your friends and family.
Thank you for all that you do to protect water.
Mark Calzavara and Rachel Small
Regional Organizing Team
Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut
P.S. Mark your calendars for September 12!
GETconcerned.org, Wellington Water Watchers, and the Council of Canadians Guelph Chapter will host renowned water warrior and Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians Maude Barlow in Guelph on Wednesday, September 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Italian Canadian Club, located at 135 Ferguson St. Admission is free, and everyone is welcome. Maude will speak to Wellington County, Guelph and Guelph-Eramosa Township residents about the looming water crisis and the growing impacts of corporate water takings.