Coldstream approves pellet plant

Council gave final approval for the zoning change Monday, which is needed to accommodate the plant

A proposed pellet plant in Lavington now has Coldstream’s blessing.

Council gave final approval for the zoning change Monday, which is needed to accommodate the plant, which is a joint venture between Pinnacle Renewable Energy and Tolko Industries.

Councillors Gyula Kiss, Richard Enns and Doug Dirk remain in opposition to the plant, but do not form a majority as Councillors Maria Besso, Pat Cochrane and Peter McClean join Mayor Jim Garlick in support.

The plant is proposed to be constructed on agricultural land across the railroad tracks from the existing Tolko planer mill.

That is where sawdust is currently being stockpiled, but will be used for creating wood pellets once the plant is built.

The plant now has non-farm use approval from the Agricultural Land Commission, as well as the zoning change from Coldstream (from rural two to general industrial).

But there are still several hurdles the plant must overcome.

Approvals are still required from Coldstream council for a building permit, and approval is also needed from the Ministry of Environment – which is currently reviewing an application for emissions.

Meanwhile a number of Lavington residents are concerned about the impact such a plant could have on the area, particularly the children at Lavington Elementary, which is about 200 metres from the plant site.

Parents Stephanie and Jason Hoffman have been leading the fight against the plant, collecting more than 550 signatures in opposition.

“Jason and I never thought that it could get this big when we started the petition, we were just trying to get people informed on what was happening in our community as our council did not do a great job on this in the first place,” said Stephanie.

“I am so proud to be part of a community that has shown that we will not go down without a fight, and this is definitely a cause worth fighting for….the health, safety and overall well-being of all the people that want to thrive in this rural piece of paradise.”