- The proposed factory will remove over 175 ares of prime agricultural land from production. The land annexed by the city and taken from farm is significantly larger than the factory site.
- The water taking will increase Stratford’s demand on the aquifer by over 25%, raising questions about long-term sustainability
- The proposal does not specify amount of pollution emissions, only that they comply with provincial standards. This compliance, however,is based on operating one float glass line and proposals for future expansion will increase pollution emissions, as well as water taking.
JOB CREATION AND COMPLIANCE WITH
- The number of jobs created for Canadian workers is unspecified, and may be a mirage
- The number of temporary foreign workers to be employed and the duration of their employment is unclear.
- Workers should not be permitted to live at the factory in what is essentially a labour camp. Xinyi refers to the dormitory as an emergency preparedness centre housing 50 workers. No other North American or European float glass manufacturer has such a facility, nor do their workers live on site.
- There are concerns about whether the workers will have the guarantees of Canadian and Ontario labour standards
- Many in the community believe the $6 million is better invested in ensuring that existing businesses in Stratford survive in this time of Covid restrictions
USE OF MINISTERIAL ZONING ORDER (MZO) UNDERMINES PUBLIC TRUST IN STRATFORD COUNCIL
Mayor Mathieson and Council participated in a very undemocratic process to rezone the land. According to the Mayor, Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, responded to pressure from Xinyi itself. An MZO was then imposed, providing a very specific order that allowed only a glassmaking factory and dormitory on the site for the portion of the land required by Xinyi.
- The potential environmental costs are high and the economic benefits are unclear. The more appropriate location for a glass float factory is a “brownfield” site with access to surface water, conserving water in the aquifer and preserving prime agricultural land.
- The MZO removes this controversial project from the normal democratic process of public participation and examination. Members of the public are rightly concerned about the secrecy surrounding this decision, and about the apparent influence of the company on local decision-making.