The Village of Chase has turned to the Kamloops-Thompson School District and three area First Nations for input on a proposed pellet plant project.
Village corporate office Larry Randle said input is being sought from eight groups including Interior Health, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, Ministry of Environment and the village fire department.
The community charter requires the village consult with various organizations that have an interest in any significant change to the official community plan.
In this case, the village would rezone land on Aylmer Road from residential to industrial and so a $40-million wood-pellet manufacturing plant could be constructed on the site.
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group is behind the project.
Randle said agencies are being asked to provide comment, but have no direct hand in the project’s fate.
“It doesn’t give them a vote. It doesn’t give them a veto. It just says, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ ” he said.
Input is due back by Oct. 30. The information will be presented to councillors for consideration before a zoning decision is made. That vote will follow a second public hearing some time next month. He said council will decide whether or not to rezone the property after the next hearing.
School board chairwoman Denise Harper said this is the first time she’s heard of the school district being asked to provide input on a project like this.
Harper said staff would consult with each other on the matter. She imagines air quality will be one of the environmental concerns raised.
“We will monitor the process very closely,” she said.
Adams Lake, Niskonlith and the Little Shuswap Indian bands will provide comment. Adams Lake Chief Nelson Leon said the band, much like the citizens of Chase, is split on the project.
He said there are environmental concerns, specifically possible impacts on Chase Creek and the South Thompson River.
People also appreciate the economic spinoffs and potential for job creation, said Leon.
“We’re adjacent to Chase and we have the same issues of lack of economic opportunity or developments leading to employment opportunities,” he said.
If approved, the plant would employ 25 people directly and provide about 15 offshoot jobs, making it one of the village’s biggest employers.