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County council considers LUB bylaw amendment for hydrovac slurry facility

Posted on December 23, 2019 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

A public hearing is expected to be held Jan. 15 for a rezoning bylaw to allow for a hydrovac slurry facility northwest of Nobleford.

During their regular Dec. 5 meeting, Lethbridge County council discussed Land Use Bylaw amendment to rezone a parcel of land from Rural Urban Fringe to Rural General Industrial.

Bylaw 19-045 – Amendment to the Land Use Bylaw From: Rural Urban Fringe (RUF) To: Rural General Industrial (RGI) – Plan 0210316 Block 1 Lot 1 in the SE 10-11-23-W4.

The application for rezoning had been made by L.A. Power Systems Ltd., in order to allow for them to put a hydrovac slurry processing facility on the site.

Located near the site is the county’s transfer station and the Town of Nobleford’s lagoon system.

“This entire parcel is encompassed. They can’t build a house on that property because of the proximity to the town’s lagoons or the transfer station,” said Hilary Janzen, senior planner for the county.

“So in discussions with the applicant, and also in discussions with the town, it was agreed that this parcel would be suitable for industrial uses going forward into the future,” said Janzen.

Reeve Lorne Hickey asked what the site would be used for. Janzen explained that hydrovacing is basically sucking mud out of the ground, creating a mud slurry.

Hickey then asked if there wasn’t a provincial regulation that had come out recently, saying that only certain areas were allowed for it. Janzen noted there were several regulations concerning hydrovac, and the applicant currently takes his materials to a place in the Taber area.

“They’re looking to have something much closer by,” said Janzen.

“We do have another one in the county, just along Highway 4, and it really is an area where they can dump the materials, dry it out, and then they haul it away. So it’s kind of like, it’s almost like a transfer station for  this type of slurry; they just need an area to dry it out. And there are requirements under Alberta Environment for these types of facilities, so they’re highly regulated.

“(The applicant) wants to create this and have this opportunity in this area, because it is something that is seen as a need.”

Coun. Steve Campbell asked is there would be a tax assessment for the facility, given that there isn’t a permanent structure there.

Janzen said they might build one in the future, but right now, they wouldn’t get much in terms of assessment, as at this time, there are no plans to put a physical building on the site.

Campbell also expressed concern over the location of the site, as it lies on a gravel road and in the Stuckhorse Lake area which makes it vulnerable to heavy loads.

Janzen noted it had been discussed with the applicant and the town, and even if the bylaw passes, the applicant would still need to apply for a development permit, which would have conditions regarding road use.

Campbell said that if they could help them locate on a highway, that would be “ideal” in his opinion, as they wouldn’t have the road damage from it.

CAO Ann Mitchell asked if they had looked at other locations for the facility.

Janzen noted that because of the type of facility it was, “it’s a little bit harder to locate them”.

“This particular property is somewhat sterilized for any type of use,” said Janzen.

“It was seen as a good use for the proposed use and also future industrial business.

“The area that they’re looking at is not the whole parcel; it’s like a quarter or an eighth of the parcel that they would actually be using.”

The facility in question would be about three to four acres in size, and the property as a whole is 15 acres, allowing plenty of opportunities for the zoning to have other uses. Janzen also said that she didn’t believe there would be a lot of traffic on the site, which would be discussed further in a development permit.

Additionally, another hydrovac slurry facility in the county is also located on a county road.

Traffic to the site wouldn’t be going through Nobleford, instead will travel along Highway 23 and down Range Road 223. Janzen said that any industrial use facility would need to use that road, and in the future, they would have to discuss road use and impacts with their public works departments.

Hickey asked what the road was currently like. Janzen said she couldn’t speak to the specific road “at this point in time”, as that was further down the line when they’re looking at the use of that road. However, she has driven on the road, and from her perspective it seems fine.

Campbell said that in the last few years, the road has been good.

“Unfortunately, when the elevator disappeared in Nobleford, then there is less truck traffic on there. But it was in bad shape a years ago. It was always frost boils and soft spots, when there is water sitting in Stuckhorse Lake,” said Campbell. “But it has been better, since there is less traffic on there now. But I don’t see that staying that way, you you start adding truckloads every day.”

When asked what the traffic would be like, Janzen said the applicant estimated four to six trucks per weekday at most, with about one or two in the wintertime.

Council unanimously passed a motion to perform first reading of Bylaw 19-045.

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