County council approves unique Balzac industrial development
A county industrial park will soon include an Olds College wetlands laboratory, after Rocky View council voted unanimously to rezone a portion of High Plains Industrial Park in east Balzac, Sept. 11.
The site, which is located at the intersection of Highway 566 and Range Road 291 and currently includes the Target Distribution Centre, Burnco and Sunterra Beef, consists of 1,274 acres of land that will be developed in phases over the next 15 to 20 years.
Applicant Ken Venner of Calgary-based Brown and Associates Planning Group, asked council to rezone a portion of the property to allow for development of the project’s second phase, which will consist of two municipal reserves, one environmental reserve, 10 industrial lots and one public utility lot.
County Planner Ben Mercer told council the environmental reserve lot will serve to protect the site’s wetlands, which contain mature deciduous trees and a natural trail.
According to Venner, students and faculty from Olds College will establish a “wetland laboratory” at the site, where they will conduct ongoing aquatic vegetation research, species production and operational monitoring as part of the Province’s Water for Life strategy.
The project will be funded through partial proceeds from the site’s stormwater treatment facility, which will reuse stormwater for industrial uses such as concrete manufacturing and pipe bending.
Venner said at full build-out, the project will provide roughly $1.15 million in annual revenue to the County.
“We’re excited about this project and we hope the County is excited about the financial benefits it can bring to east Balzac and to the county as a whole,” said Venner.
He told council the developer will also use and improve existing infrastructure on the site and undertake projects such as an extension of Township Road 261, improvements to Range Road 291 and its intersection with Highway 566, and construction of an internal road system.
Mercer noted the application has been reviewed and approved by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, as well as the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB). He added no letters of opposition were received from the 26 adjacent landowners to whom the application was circulated.
“I think we should support this whole-heartedly,” said area-Councillor Lois Habberfield, who motioned council approve the application.
“I think it has been well thought out and gone through rigorous review by the ERCB, Alberta Environment and our own planning department. There is no opposition in the community and it will promote development and allow for reuse of water.”
Councillor Earl Solberg agreed with Habberfield and commended the developer for its focus on reuse of water.
“After eight years of trying to encourage water reuse, it’s nice to see it finally happening here in Rocky View,” he said. “I am really excited to see what the outcomes will be.”
The project will be brought back to council for a decision on subdividing the land at a later date.