Xinyi, Police Cars and NAFTA Added to Monday’s Meeting Agenda

This Monday will be the last meeting of council before the traditional summer break, and while it looked to be mostly low key, with only the Plastic Free Guelph presentation being the main point of discussion, there are a couple of interesting additions on the amended agenda.

The new item added to the closed meeting agenda concerns Xinyi Canada Glass Limited. At a meeting this past Monday of the Guelph-Eramosa Township, council voted 4-1 against allowing the construction of a manufacturing facility that would produce float glass. Area residents organized to oppose the plant due to concerns about water-taking and potentially noxious chemicals and fumes.

The matter now comes to Guelph City Council in closed meeting due to “litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board; and advice that is subject to solicitor client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose.”

So why does this matter to Guelph council? Well, Xinyi has not yet made it clear what their response to the vote is going to be, but they may appeal the decision to the Land and Environmental Tribunal. “Our commitment to build our first North American float glass facility to serve the increasing demand of the North American market remains unchanged. We will review our position and consider possible options to go forward,” Xinyi said in a statement to the media.

Any trip to the Tribunal may drag the City of Guelph in because a letter from Chief Administrative Officer Derrick Thomson to the CAO of Guelph Eramosa Township, Ian Roger. It outlined concerns about the Xinyi facility that were used to help justify the organized opposition to the plant.

“The Xinyi Glass Plant has the potential to impact the City’s water supply,” Thomson wrote in the letter.

“A water taking of this magnitude has the potential to create well interference effects on the City water supply wells and in particular, our Queensdale Well. The Queensdale Well is the closest well to the plant and is the City’s well that is most sensitive to well interference effects.”

Likely council will be hearing about the possibilities for litigation and/or tribunal appeal in the closed session.

In other news, the Guelph Police Service is asking council to approve $332,500 from the Police Services Capital Reserve Fund for the pre-purchase of 10 new fleet vehicles.

According to a letter from the General Manager of Finance and City Treasurer Tara Baker, Ford announced in May that the Taurus sedan, which is the type of car currently being used by Guelph Police, will be discontinued later this year, and there’s a September 30 ordering deadline for new vehicles.

Ordering one of the alternative models currently being offered is apparently more costly, and the Police would like to take the time to look at more options, including hybrids, which will save on fuel and operation costs in the long run. There’s also a concern that current vehicle-based equipment is not compatible with one of the alternative vehicles presently offered.

Council is being asked to approved the transfer from the reserve, which will be accounted for in the 2019 Police Services budget.

The other new item at the meeting is a Request for Support Resolution from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) for the North America Free Trade Agreement. The resolution asks that Ontario’s municipalities stand with the Federal government, the Province, and with each other in order to support NAFTA and its economic benefits.

Ward 5 Councillor Cathy Downer, who was just acclaimed for a second term to the Large Urban Caucus of the AMO board, will speak to the resolution.

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