GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR – ALICIA FOX
Two delegates from the Granum Hutterian Brethren appeared Aug. 20 at the MD of Willow Creek Municipal Planning Commission meeting to request an expansion on a previously approved development application.
The colony was already approved for the development of a soy bean processing plant and came before council to request a 30-foot by 80-foot expansion on the existing plans to include washrooms and offices as well as some extra processing space.
The colony also requested the operating hours be increased to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with only six of those days having workers in the plant conducting business.
Council heard the existing hours, which are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. five days a week, are eaten up by the first two hours heating up the plant and making sure the temperature is correct to ensure quality control and the time it takes to cool it all down.
Should the plant be allowed to run 24 hours a day, that set-up and cool-down time would not be required.
Coun. Glen Alm said neighbours had concerns about delivery trucks coming and going and the possibility of noise disturbances.
“The greater the hours, the more intensive the operations become,” chief administrative officer Cynthia Vizzutti said. “The whole point of limiting hours is to lessen impact on adjacent land owners and infrastructure. As these things expand, where do they cross over from rural general to rural industrial?”
Vizzutti went on to ask whether it is an agricultural operation or perhaps an industrial operation.
There was further discussion about how shipping and delivery hours could be limited, should the request for extended hours be entertained.
Both the application for extended hours and expansion of space were denied.
“The extended hours will intensify the operation outside of the intention of rural general,” Vizzutti said. Intensification of operations was the reason given for the denial of plant expansion as well.
If the applicants wish to proceed, they have the option to apply for a re-zoning from rural general to rural industrial.