|Fr. Peter Bisson, S.J.|
Plans to put an outdoor, industrial recycling facility next door to the Martyrs' Shrine have shocked the Jesuits and galvanized a campaign to protect the environmentally sensitive Wye Marsh. The Jesuits are asking Midland, Ont.'s town councillors to reverse their decision to rezone a site to allow Recycling Specialties Inc. to bring in truckloads of metal, paper, cardboard, wood, plastic and other material for sorting and processing. Neither the Jesuits who run Martyrs' Shrine nor Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons — a provincial park built around a recreation of the first Christian settlement in Ontario and the graves of St. Jean de Brébeuf and St. Gabriel Lallemant — were notified before the zoning change on April 26. Previously zoned highway commercial, the land directly across from the front steps of the shrine is now zoned industrial. The direct neighbours of the site fell outside of the Ontario Planning Act's mandatory 120-metre notification zone and on the other side of the town's border with the Township of Tay. "We've been good neighbours for almost 100 years, so this really took us by surprise," said Jesuit Father Peter Bisson. The Jesuits have teamed up with Huronia Historical Parks to launch a "Protect Martyrs' Shrine/Sainte-Marie Among the Hurons" Facebook page. "We think this could really damage the prayerful atmosphere of Sainte-Marie, especially the church where the grave sites are, as well as the shrine," said Bisson.
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