Saputo Dairy Products Canada has received development approval to upgrade its plant on Gaetz Avenue.

Saputo Dairy Products Canada has received development approval to upgrade its plant on Gaetz Avenue.

Saputo to upgrade downtown plant

Saputo Dairy Products Canada is preparing to modify its downtown plant. On Wednesday, the dairy processor received site development approval from Red Deer’s municipal planning commission for a number of additions to its longtime facilities at 5410 Gaetz Ave. These include a 7,080-square-foot warehouse, a 2,200-square-foot waste water storage area, a 1,700-square-foot equipment cleaning room and a 540-square foot silo access corridor.

Saputo Dairy Products Canada is preparing to modify its downtown plant.

On Wednesday, the dairy processor received site development approval from Red Deer’s municipal planning commission for a number of additions to its longtime facilities at 5410 Gaetz Ave. These include a 7,080-square-foot warehouse, a 2,200-square-foot waste water storage area, a 1,700-square-foot equipment cleaning room and a 540-square foot silo access corridor.

Saputo also plans to build three new 75-foot (23-metre) silos, and to demolish 16,644 square feet of an existing 21,800-square-foot warehouse on the west side of its property.

The land falls within Red Deer’s Railyards district, which under the city’s Greater Downtown Action Plan is slated to become a distinctive urban neighbourhood with residential and commercial development.

The commission heard that Saputo’s plans are supported by the Greater Downtown Action Plan Steering Committee, and that notifications sent out to 62 nearby landowners prompted no objections.

Two years ago, Saputo received development approval for a new 21,075-square-foot building on the site, with that structure to measure nearly 30 feet (nine metres) in height and have a 75-foot (23-metre) tower on top. A 3,250-square-foot addition to the existing plant was also proposed, as was demolition of the old warehouse.

The commission was told on Wednesday that due to “economic constraints” that work was never undertaken.

Dianne Wyntjes said the new plan will result in a “less industrial look” than its predecessor, and result in a better fit for the Railyards.

Mayor Tara Veer agreed.

“I think this application not only accommodates business expansion, it transitions us into a more commercial aesthetic.”

Saputo’s plant received previous additions in 2008 and 2011. Its landmark brick Alpha smokestack dates back to 1936, when Central Alberta Dairy Pool built a plant there. That smokestack has been declared by the city to have a historical significance that warrants preservation.

The city’s Planning Department said the design, colours and materials to be used in the additions currently proposed should complement the historic character of the plant.

Based in Canada, Saputo operates a number of plants worldwide. It produces cheese, milk, cream, cultured products and dairy ingredients, marketing these under a variety of brand names.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com