Xinyi Glass submits bylaw amendment

Xinyi Canada Glass Limited has taken the first step with the municipality towards building a float-glass production plant in the township.

On April 9 Guelph-Eramosa councillors accepted the complete application for a zoning bylaw amendment for the plant.

Xinyi is a Chinese company that is planning to build a 70-acre, $450-million glass manufacturing complex on industrial land north of the intersection of Wellington Roads 124 and 32, on the west side of Guelph-Eramosa, at 5081 Wellington Road 32.

While the land is already zoned industrial, the company is requesting specific amendments, explained township planning consultant Dan Currie.

First, the company is asking for site specific revisions to allow for a residence on site that will allow a caretaker and emergency personnel to be on site at all times.

The residence will also provide housing for short-term training and other staff.

Additionally, the company is requesting a zoning bylaw amendment for “variances to performance regulations,” Currie said.

These include:

 – a reduction in the number of parking spaces from one space for every 90 square metres for industrial use (or one space for every 200 square metres for warehouse use) to one space for every 900 square metres;

– waiving the outdoor loading space requirement because the company is proposing internal loading;

– increasing the building height from 15 to 22m for every building;

– reducing the required setback from Wellington Road 32 from 22.5 to 10.6m; and

– increasing the maximum lot coverage from 40 per cent to 50%.

“In terms of the existing [Official Plan] and zoning framework, the lands are designated rural employment in the county official plan and they’re zoned rural industrial,” Currie said.

“The industrial use is exactly what’s permitted, what’s planned for in this land and the proposal or requests for zoning bylaw amendments will be reviewed in light of that policy framework.”

Councillor Mark Bouwmeester said the application looked “fantastic.”

“This is what we’re dreaming for, this type of application, these types of developments,” he said.

“It’s a rarity really to see a plant this size; it’s rare that you hear about these things in Canada, let alone in Ontario.  

“The fact that it’s in Guelph-Eramosa, that’s fantastic.”

Bouwmeester said he has researched the company’s website and said a plant like this is “probably at the top of the list” for desired applicants.

“Everything I’ve heard about Xinyi … they seem to be proactive in trying to identify the concerns in the community or local area, “

he said. “They’re interests and the community’s interests are aligned, so I welcome that we’re going to work with them moving forward.”

The township is planning a public meeting on May 9 to discuss the zoning bylaw amendment application.

Councillor Corey Woods expressed concern over the timeline.

“Some of the agencies that we are going to circulate to, it takes them longer than 23 days to get out of bed,” he said. “So how are we expecting to get a response from some of these guys in 23 days?”

Currie explained that just over three weeks is the standard notice for a public meeting for zoning bylaw amendments.

“The zoning bylaw amendment isn’t that complex,” Currie said. “It’s not like there’s a number of technical studies that have to be circulated to various ministries.

“It will probably get circulated but I don’t anticipate we’ll get a wealth of comments from most agencies.”

It’s the site plan application that will contain the technical studies that will require review, he said.

Councillor David Wolk asked when the site plan would be available.

While Currie didn’t know, he said Xinyi anticipates it will be available before the public meeting.

Mayor Chris White asked that whatever information is complete be made available before the public meeting.

“I don’t want this application to be blind,” White said.

“It’s very hard for the public to visualize this thing.”