Neighbours appeal approval of $25M grain terminal project

Landowners have appealed Red Deer County’s approval of a proposed $25-million grain terminal near Bowden.

Landowners have appealed Red Deer County’s approval of a proposed $25-million grain terminal near Bowden.

Winnipeg-based Paterson GlobalFoods Inc. plans to build an export terminal with 55,000 tonnes of capacity and a high-speed unloading system that can fill 150 rail cars in seven hours using a loop rail system.

The terminal will accept all of the area’s key crops, including wheat, canola, barley and soybeans. Those products will be transported to Paterson’s Alliance Grain Terminal in the Port of Vancouver to customers worldwide.

Leonard and Fern Kobewka live near the proposed facility to be built on 247 acres just north of Bowden.

Edmonton lawyer Sid Kobewka is representing his brother Leonard and his wife in the appeal, which will be before the county subdivision and development appeal board on May 26.

Kobewka said his brother is concerned that the value of his home and five-acre property just south of the proposed site will be significantly reduced by the project. Having such a large-scale development close by will also mean noise and traffic problems, the Kobewkas argue in their appeal.

They want to the appeal board to impose additional conditions on Paterson GlobalFoods to reduce the impact on their property. Berms, road and access improvements, restricted operating hours are typical of the types of conditions appeal boards may impose.

Sid Kobewka said a longer term remedy would be to rezone his brother’s country residential property to commercial or something else more appropriate for a site so close to a major agricultural complex.

Rezoning is beyond the authority of the appeal board but is something the Kobewkas would like county council to consider.

“I think a good solution would be for working together and say let’s turn this land into useful commercial property,” he said.

Both sides presented their cases to the appeal board on May 4. However, it was adjourned for three weeks to allow Kobewka to review the grain company’s traffic impact assessment.

Shane Paterson, corporate development officer for the family-owned Paterson GlobalFoods, said by email that the company has been pleased with local support for their project, which will provide a major benefit to local farmers.

“We feel that the site selected, where primary highway infrastructure with an overpass meets primary railway infrastructure, is appropriate for the proposed development,” he says.

Paterson points out that the Kobewkas’ property is already located close to the busy Hwy 587 and the grain complex traffic will be an “insubstantial addition” to those volumes. A well-used CP Rail line is also close to the couple’s property, he notes.

“Nonetheless, we have tried to work with this land owner to address this perceived disruption, without success. We feel that this appeal is without merit.”

Paterson says the company respects the appeal process and its construction schedule remains on track.

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