RDNO board rallies behind North Enderby Timber mill’s plans
Economic considerations have led politicians to fast track a proposed land use in rural Enderby.
Regional District of North Okanagan directors voted Wednesday to consider sending an application from North Enderby Timber to the provincial Agricultural Land Commission without having staff put together an analysis of possible implications.
“This situation is time sensitive and North Enderby Timber is a significant economic driver in our area and a good corporate citizen,” said director Howie Cyr.
North Enderby Timber wants to exclude 4.9 hectares adjacent to its Highway 97A site from the Agricultural Land Reserve so it can be used for a log storage yard and dry kiln. In return, the company wants to convert a former 4.9-hectare log sort yard on Crandlemire Road into agricultural capabilities.
North Enderby Timber officials insist there is a need for RDNO to expedite sending its application to the ALC so other approval processes can proceed and demand for its cedar products can be met.
“We’re trying to keep our customers happy over the next few months,” said Larry Poggemoeller, owner.
The mill’s dry kiln was destroyed by fire in January and wood is currently being dried by a contractor in Spallumcheen.
“If I don’t have dry capacity in a certain amount of time (next fall), I’ll have to do something else,” said Poggemoeller.
RDNO staff say it would have taken about seven to eight weeks for the ALC application to be considered through the traditional process. But without a staff report, the board will make a decision April 4.
It’s not known when the ALC may make a decision on the application.
Director Janice Brown is concerned any delays in opening a new kiln will reduce North Enderby Timber’s market.
“Once they lose some of their customers, they lose them forever,” she said adding there will be an impact on the mill’s 103 staff and the community.
Opposition to expediting the ALC application came from director Mike Macnabb, who says North Enderby Timber is being pushed ahead of other applicants.
“We’re on a slippery slope. We’re setting a precedent,” he said.
Before any construction can take place, North Enderby Timber must also apply to RDNO for official community plan and rezoning amendments and a development permit. No approval for expediting those processes has been made.