By Erika Mathieu
Sunny South News
Following the announcement of the historic McCains investment, Lethbridge County Council is considering a new borrowing bylaw which would assist the municipality in the funding of water pipeline infrastructure in the County between the Town of Coaldale and the McCain Foods potato processing plant in Chin.
Council passed first reading of the proposed bylaw during the April 20 regular meeting of Council. The discussion was held during the closed portion of the council meeting and was protected from public disclosure under Section 25 (Disclosure Harmful to Economic and Other Interests of a Public Body) as per the Province’s FOIP Act.
As proposed, Bylaw 23-016, or the Waterline Installation Borrowing Bylaw, would grant the municipality the ability to borrow up to $6 million to cover a portion of the $18 million cost of installing a water pipeline. The 18,300 metre water pipeline is required to meet the processing facility’s water needs due to the company’s $600 million expansion. Borrowing conditions include that the loan be in the form of a debenture and borrowed from an accredited financial institution. Further stipulations outlined in the proposed bylaw include a limit of a 25 year amortization period. To offset project costs, Lethbridge County will continue to pursue available grant funding.
In a County-issued statement on April 25, Reeve of Lethbridge County, Tory Campbell said, “council recognizes the significant positive economic impact that will accompany the expansion of the McCain’s facility.” McCains’ announcement signifies the largest investment in the company’s history which is expected to create over 250 jobs. The expansion will be a milestone for the region’s agri-processing corridor. Campbell said the expansion, “will see exponentially more potatoes purchased from local producers to export finished products across the globe.”
“Council is committed to fostering an environment wherein businesses can thrive,” said Campbell in a statement to media. “Continued economic growth benefits the County and the entire region.”
According to a County news release, residents will be able to submit a petition opposing the bylaw until May 24. Lethbridge County has indicated Bylaw 23-016 will be considered for second and third readings as part of the June 1 regular council meeting. Further information on petition requirements can be found at https://lethcounty.ca/p/petitions or by calling 403-328-5525.