Frac sand facility approval upheld

An approval has been upheld for a contentious Leslieville-area frac sand facility, leaving a nearby landowner fuming at local politicians’ handling of the issue.

An approval has been upheld for a contentious Leslieville-area frac sand facility, leaving a nearby landowner fuming at local politicians’ handling of the issue.

“It’s terrible,” Ken Forster said of the Clearwater County subdivision and development appeal board’s decision to uphold a development permit for the proposed fracking sand trans-loading centre that will be built about 400 metres from his home of 30 years.

About a dozen neighbours joined forces and hired a lawyer to oppose Edmonton-based Di-Corp’s proposal to build a $15-million facility on a 33-acre site about three km west of Leslieville.

Those opposed argued the project would create unsafe traffic backlogs onto local roads, prove a noise and dust nuisance, and stick an eyesore in the middle of farmland with views of distant mountains.

“We’re not against the company being in the county. That’s not what we’re against,” said Forster. “We’re against where they’re putting it.”

Residents suggested better locations where the plant would not affect other property owners but council paid no heed, he said.

“They’re working against us all the time,” he said. “They are not listening to us.”

Forster said council approved the rezoning of the site to industrial and the later development permit despite widespread opposition.

He’s at a loss what steps residents can take to fight the project.

“The problem is we can’t afford a million dollars (in legal bills). We are just ordinary people. We don’t know what to do.

“We are just really choked.”

In its decision, the appeal board approved the project based on a list of conditions, including that noise from the site and its railyard not exceed 75 decibels at the nearest home.

A berm and tree plantings will also be required, dust control measures put in place and lighting directed downward on the site.

A major concern of residents was the potential for truck traffic to back up from Alhambra Road to Hwy 598 at a rail crossing if a train was present. The board accepted evidence that there is enough room for vehicles before the tracks and low enough traffic volumes that a safety issue will not arise.

Di-Corp project manager Hubert St. Jean does not anticipate any problems meeting development conditions, which were based on the background work and public input the company gathered before making its development application.

The site includes six 27-metre silos for fracking sand and a 53-metre bucket elevator.

Sand is brought to the plant from the U.S. by rail car for customers in Alberta. The rail yard has room for 120 cars and “soft coupling” techniques are to be used to keep noise down.

St. Jean notes the appeal board did review concerns of traffic backing up onto Hwy 598 and determined that was addressed.

“They did take into consideration everything that we presented and the issues and they felt there wasn’t an issue,” he said.

The company had proposed entering into a development agreement requiring the company to upgrade area roads if a traffic problem emerged.

“The SDAB didn’t feel it was necessary to have that development agreement,” he said. “They set some ground rules of what they would like us to live up to and that’s going to be our intent.”

Di-Corp will continue to work with neighbours to address any concerns, he said.

Site work is expected to begin soon and the plant is expected to be completed by March.

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more provincial funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by FCSS

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month