Proposed Xinyi glass plant in Stratford put on pause

It appears the City of Stratford will not be making a decision the Xinyi glass plant anytime soon.

A release from Xinyi says the city has decide to pause the process.

Xinyi announced a plan to bring a plant to the city last year. The proposed $400-million facility promised to bring more than 300 jobs to the city.

It was met with opposition over concerns of the environmental impact of the plant, along with a lack of transparency over the project's approval.

Thursday marked day eight of a vigil against the company looking to build the plant.

"We felt a vigil was a very powerful word," said Peggy Coffeh King with Get Concerned Stratford. "To stand, it takes courage, it takes perseverance, it takes us trying to fight something so huge."

"This heavy industry right at the front of our gate will completely change the character of our city," said Lesley Walker-Fitzpatrick with Get Concerned Stratford.

The city delayed voting on a cost-sharing agreement with Xinyi for several months and a final decision will be delayed even longer.

"While we are disappointed that Stratford city council decided not to move forward at this time, we remain confident in the merits of this proposal and the economic benefits for Stratford and the broader region," Chris Pidgeon, project manager, said in a news release. "We will undertake to keep an open dialogue with local and provincial officials regarding the future of the project, and with the community at large."

"The City of Stratford continues to receive feedback on the proposed development and cost sharing agreement with Xinyi Canada Glass Limited," a statement from a city official said in part. "However, given the ongoing provincial lockdown and subsequent provincial emergency stay-at-home order, council will not be making a decision on the proposal at this time.  The focus on the health and safety of our citizens is our top priority."

The statement said the city will "provide appropriate notice to the public" when the project is brought forward again.

"The city has a lot of information on our website in response to the questions and the comments that came in from the public," Stratford CAO Joan Thompson said.

The company also tried to open a plant in Guelph-Eramosa Township back in 2018, but it didn't go forward due to environmental concerns.