Processing & productivity
Under the Glass
And there they were, gone…from Canada?
By Patrick Flannery
The Xinyi Canada website has been updated to only display a statement from the glass manufacturer expressing its disappointment at the collapse of talks with Stratford, Ont., city council and its withdrawal of its proposal to built a $400 million float glass plant there. The statement cites “misinformation and falsehoods spread by small opposition groups,” claiming “radical insinuations were made, with overt hostility demonstrated in opposition to the project’s development.” The proposal was withdrawn in part to prevent “unfounded attacks on its reputation.” The statement is vague about Xinyi’s future plans, saying “Xinyi looks forward to bringing the project back to Ontario when the investment environment is more welcoming.”
Given this is the second time Xinyi has been rebuffed by an Ontario municipality after facing spurious objections from NIMBY groups to a plan that met all provincial and municipal environmental standards – objections that Xinyi’s project manager called “prejudiced” – it seems something fundamental will have to change in Ontario’s “investment environment” before it will ever be welcoming enough for the province to produce float glass again. At present, any opposition, even from tiny, unrepresentative groups with no knowledge of the industry, is sufficient to cow councils. Under these conditions, it is hard to see how any project proposal could be approved. Xinyi’s statement reads like a final abandonment of its plans to do business in Ontario, and maybe Canada.