They do not want the company anywhere near their homes or schools.
“This company is not wanted here.”
“If the community does not want ya’ll here, then why locate here?”
“Is there any chance that ya’ll would stop construction and just go away?”
The entire room raised their hands when asked how many people don’t want the company near their homes.
The 52 residents who attended a community meeting put on by Vermilion Parish Citizens Against Multi-Chem received answers to their questions about the facility they are in the process of building.
Representing Multi-Chem were Blake Gage, manager of the global product service line operations and Cade Bourque, who is the environmental specialist for the company.
Bourque, who is originally from Kaplan but lives in Abbeville, fielded all of the questions asked by residents.
Michelle Schexnaider, who lives within two miles of the plant and has three children, got emotional and began crying when she started voicing her concerns about the Multi-Chem facility.
“It is not fair that a big company can come in and there is nothing we can do to stop it,” said Schexnaider. “No value to humans. No amount of money value can be placed on friends and family. We want to stop them. We do not want the plant here.”
Despite their concerns, construction continues on the 64-acre site of land two miles east of Indian Bayou. Only eight acres of the 64 acre tract will be used for operations. The other 56 acres will be green space.
Bourque explained the plant will be used as a blending facility and not a manufacturing plant. Chemicals will only be mixed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then the plant shuts down for the night. One resident wanted to know if there will be security at night and if there will be some kind of warning system to let residents know if there is a chemical leak at the plant.
Bourque said he did not have an answer about security or the warning system but will look into it.
The biggest fear residents have about Multi-Chem locating in their backyard is the fear that if there will be a chemical leak or chemical fire like the plant had a year ago in New Iberia. They do not feel Vermilion Parish volunteer firemen or Office of Emergency Preparedness can handle a incident like the one in New Iberia.
Marcella Manuel, who heads Citizens Against Multi-Chem, said, “We need to know if we can be protected. The residents want to make sure Multi-Chem is not blowing smoke.
“It is the parish and the state’s responsibility to protect the residents,” she added. “I don’t think the parish is prepared. Multi-Chem needs to get with our fire departments and see if they are properly trained for a chemical fire,” Manuel said.
Bourque explained why the company is relocating from New Iberia to Vermilion Parish. He said the closeness to I-10, the Gulf of Mexico and Hwy. 90 is the reason, coupled with the rural location.
Bourque assured the people if they smell chemicals during the mixing process or see a safety issue that needs to be brought to someone’s attention, to contact him at the Indian Bayou facility.
There will be another community Citizens Against Multi-Chem meeting on Aug. 23 at the Woodmen of the World Hall in Maurice at 7 p.m.
On Aug. 30 at the Kaplan City Hall, another meeting will take place at 7 p.m
The public is invited.
“We fear for our safety now that Muti-Chem is here,” Manuel said.