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St Marys Cement involves local community in land swap proposal

Published by
World Cement,

According to local press reports, St Marys Cement is planning to create a citizen’s advisory committee in order to better educate the public on the company’s proposed land swap at its Charlevoix plant in Michigan, USA.

The plant is proposing to swap a section of state land, the northern tip of Fisherman’s Island State Park in Charlevoix Township (approximately 190 acres), for a section of land it owns along the southern section of the park in Norwood Township (approximately 220 acres). The land swap would not affect the shoreline; however, it would result in the entrance to the park being moved around 4.5 miles south.

Company officials stated that the land swap would consolidate the plant’s footprint in the area. Dirk Cox, Operations Manager at St Marys Cement, told local news sources that mining was a key factor for the plant. The land swap would result in the plant having no immediate neighbours, which would prove to be a positive for the community as local residents are not keen to have a large mining facility operating next door to them. Furthermore, the swap would move mining operations closer to the plant, saving approximately 180 000 gallons of fuel per year.

“Since St Marys Cement bought the plant in 2005, we have consistently sought input from the community on how our operations affect them, attempted to address real concerns and in the process we have built strong relationships with the community. We have over 130 full time employees, are one of the largest tax payers in the county, are a major economic contributor to the area and we expect to be here for the foreseeable future,” said Cox in a statement to the community in March 2014.

“We also recognise that our area is a community with a certain character and charm that we all must work together to preserve and protect. St Marys decisions should ultimately enhance that character in the long term, while taking intermediate steps along the way that will make our operations as discreet and as low profile as possible. With this in mind we envisioned the ‘land swap’.

“St Marys proposes a working committee be formed to objectively challenge existing assumptions and determine if practical solutions can be crafted. The findings and conclusions could then be reported to the broader community. We will facilitate the discussion and ask that respected leaders in the community, business, and the environment, consider participating. This will include people from Charlevoix Township, Norwood Township and the City of Charlevoix,” added Cox.

According to reports, the chance for the local community to express interest in joining the committee will be provided soon and will continue through May and June to allow summer residents the opportunity to join the committee.

Edited from various sources by Rosalie Starling

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