Chase wood-pellet plant to proceed slowly

Opponents still have time to try to stop development

Months could pass before there's any visible progress on a proposed wood-pellet plant in Chase, which gives opponents plenty of time to renew efforts to stop the $40-million project.

"We're not going to give up," vowed Dale Robinson, who opposed the plant from the start. "It's not a good deal for the town and it's not a good deal for anybody who lives in close proximity."

Robinson was among the 69 people who attended a meeting Tuesday during which councillors approved rezoning residential land on Aylmer Road to industrial so the project can proceed.

This by no means guarantees the plant will become a reality, said village corporate officer Larry Randle. It simply opens the door for Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group to build if the project moves forward.

"I think that is important for all of us to keep in mind. Just because they've rezoned and will subdivide (the land) they aren't required to build a pellet plant," said Randle.

"There's no obligation for them to build a pellet plant."

At this point there isn't even a building permit, he said. Randle expects it will take a couple of months for Pinnacle to apply for the proper permits, both from the village and the province.

"The village won't be doing much in that regard. Our role, at this stage, is to facilitate and negotiate the subdivision itself, the carving off of the lot," he said.

Randle will have a better sense of what's to come after village staffers meet with a planning consultant on Monday, he said.

Robinson and other Chase residents are determined to stop the plant and will meet soon to plan their next course of action.

He said wood-pellet plants were built in Williams Lake and Burns Lake and his research revealed people in those communities aren't happy. The Burns Lake plant has operated for two years and still hasn't met emission guidelines.

"We're not against the pellet plant, we just don't want it in our town," said Robinson.

The plant is expected to generate a minimum of $75,000 in tax revenue and employ 25 people directly.

An official with Pinnacle could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

© Copyright 2018 Kamloops Daily News