Cancelled glass plant in Stratford would have brought hundreds of jobs, mayor says

The potential site of a proposed glass factory in Guelph.

A plan to build a glass plant in Stratford has been cancelled.

The Xinyi plant was halted less than five months after it was announced. Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson said it would have brought hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in investments to the Festival City.

"It's a reality we will work to address, whether it's working with our existing employers around expanding employment opportunities within their facilities," Mathieson said.

He said the city has a low unemployment rate, sitting between five and 6 per cent.

But, Samantha Zulauf said the plant brought prospects for her friends who have been looking for jobs.

"Some factories are hard to get to in this town," she said. "It's unfortunate we are missing out on that type of job so people can actually have a life and support themselves and their families."

The project received a lot of pushback from advocacy groups who cited environmental concerns like ground water use at the factory.

"It's not all about the jobs at the expense of rare and disappearing land," said Loreen McKennitt, founder of Wise Communities.

McKennitt said there was also a lack of transparency around the land and zoning order.

"There was a 99-page report that was never made available at the time of the annexation," she said. "The annexation was primarily for setting up this glass factory."

"The city followed the planning act and annexation act," Mathieson said. "We fell short in the eyes of the public with regards to transparency and public availability for discussion. We have to own that."

Mathieson said a council member has filed a notice of motion to debate revoking the zoning order. The debate is scheduled for the council meeting on March 8.