City council to examine microbrewery request, wood-fired boilers on Monday

Microbreweries and wood-fired boilers are back on the Red Deer city council agenda to start the New Year.

Microbreweries and wood-fired boilers are back on the Red Deer city council agenda to start the New Year.

City council sits for its regular meeting on Monday, before launching into a week of operating budget debates on Tuesday.

The boilers are back on the agenda after a resident came forward saying he would be out a lot of money if a ban was put in place.

A motion has been made to reconsider a ban on wood-fired boilers in Red Deer approved by city council in early December.

A Red Deer businessman was in the process of installing an outdoor wood-fired boiler at the time the ban was made.

He told the Advocate he had invested $20,000 into the boiler just before the ban was approved.

The city’s Environmental Services Department recommended the ban in a Nov. 25 report. The department cited air quality concerns and, according to a report, were working proactively to protect local air quality.

In light of the new developments, council will debate a motion to direct city administration to investigate what it would take to develop a regulatory framework for wood-fired boilers with emissions restrictions. That report would then return to council half way through 2015.

Rocky Mountain House also bans wood-fired boilers, while St. Albert regulates them through their emergency services. Lethbridge is considering changes to its regulations that may include boilers.

Red Deer city council will also consider adding microbreweries as a discretionary use in the Riverlands and Railyards neighbourhoods. The issue was brought forward at the Nov. 24 council meeting.

Administration had been receiving inquiries about developing microbreweries. However, such operations are not covered in the city’s land use master plan as a permitted use.

As a result, a site-specific bylaw would be required and is considered cumbersome for potential business owners. Only the Drummond Brewing Co. in Edgar Industrial Park had developed a microbrewery with site-specific approval.

First reading on the discretionary use bid was given on Nov. 24. Public feedback the city has received on the proposal is split, with one letter supporting the development and one opposing.

If approved, the bylaw would allow for the businesses provided they also have an onsite tasting room, drinking establishment or restaurant and that the production and packaging of the alcohol be no more than 70 per cent of the total floor area.

Also up for discussion on Monday, council will consider giving a loan to the 2019 Canada Winter Games organization for interim operating expenditures.

If approved, the loan would have a principal of up to $2 million with a 2.075 per cent interest rate, to be paid before the end of February 2019. The loan would be provided to the Host Society Organization and until the society is incorporated, the city will act as agent of the loan on behalf of the host society.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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