County bylaw proposes to allow bitumen battery

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County has taken first steps to redistrict property south of Peavine Metis Settlement to allow a bitumen battery.
At its regular meeting Sept. 24, council gave first reading to land-use bylaw 23-2022 to redistrict property Pt. SE (LSD 1) 2-78-16-W5 south of Peavine to rural industrial from agriculture.
Council received an application from Wood- cote Oil & Gas Inc. to redistrict the land owned by Peavine, Pat Olansky, director of planning and development, told council.
Applicants are currently operating a multi-well bitumen battery on the site, she noted.
Peavine has authorized the applicant to apply for the land-use bylaw amendment.
Applicants are operating a multi-well bitumen battery at 02-02-78-16-W5, on the south side of Township Rd. 780 just west of Range Rd. 160, Olansky said.
The site currently includes eight 1,000-barrel tanks, engines driven by propane (Chevrolet truck engines) and four well heads.
A public hearing is scheduled for Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m.
Land directly north (15-2-78-16-W5) was recently redistricted to rural industrial from agriculture to accommodate a similar wellsite pad.
Through its municipal development plan, the county seeks to support a variety of industrial uses and accommodate and encourage industrial uses that will support existing industry, such as oil and gas and forestry.
The developer entered into a surface lease agreement with the registered owners without prior consultation with the county to ensure the property was or could be rezoned to rural industrial, Olansky says.
Impacts to county roads an intersection of Township Rd. 780 and Range Rd. 161A can be evaluated during the development permit phase, she notes.
It would include daily traffic estimates on Range Rd. 161A.
A fourth well was being drilled on the subject pad, Olansky says in her report to council.
When complete, the applicant expects five oil haulers per day.
“Operators will access the location daily with small trucks,” Olansky says.
“A road-use agreement with the county will be considered as a condition of the development to ensure that appropriate signage, maintenance and repairs will be the responsibility of the developer,” Olansky says.
Potential nuisance concerns include noise associated with tanker truck traffic and idling, she notes.
Section 7.2 of the municipal planning development encourages council to locate new industrial development within or adjacent to existing industrial parks and near major transportation infrastructure, such as Highway 2, Seal Lake Rd. and rail networks. The site is located near Seal Lake Road.

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