Nova Chemicals given greenlight for major expansion
Nova Chemicals has been officially given the green light from head office to go ahead with a major expansion.
“It’s safe to say we’re full speed ahead with this project now,” said Rick Van Hemmen, Nova’s Joffre site leader.
Van Hemmen was before Lacombe County council and the municipal planning commission on Thursday lining up more approvals for the project that is already underway.
Nova is planning a $750-million to $900-million expansion to a polyethylene plant on site. The new polyethylene reactor will produce about 950 million to 1.1 billion pounds of low-density polyethylene a year — boosting total plant production by about 40 per cent.
As part of the project a $30-million rail yard with room for 450 cars will be added on the west side of the existing yards, which will also be expanded to make room for almost 100 more cars.
Nova received zoning and development permit approvals on Thursday for the rail yard, which will be built on 100 acres west of the existing yards. The site includes room for additional rail space if needed in the future.
Coun. Cliff Soper said he had received calls from some area residents, who were concerned about rail crossings being blocked for lengthy periods by trains serving the petrochemical complex.
Van Hemmen said Nova is working on the issue with Canadian National Railway officials.
The polyethylene expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
At peak, the construction force will hit 500, including about 150 to 250 tradespeople.
About 40 to 60 per cent of project spending will happen in Central Alberta. When completed, the plant will create 25 to 35 permanent jobs and 15 to 25 contractor positions.