The closure of the Lavington glass plant in 2008 hit the immediate and surrounding communities hard. Hundreds of jobs were lost and a major industrial tenant moved out of the community, taking a large chunk of economic impact with it.
So news that Tolko could be adding to the industrial activities with a pellet plant in Lavington is welcomed by many in the community.
Not only would the plant create 20-30 full-time positions, but railway jobs would be secured with the anticipated 2,500 rail cars filled per year.
The economic impact is huge.
While the project appears to benefit all involved, there is one possibility that could kill the proposal.
The hurdle lies with the approval needed from the Agricultural Land Commission. Since the project wants to expand its current non-farm use footprint from five to seven acres (five acres are already being used for wood chip storage), the ALC could see this as a detriment to the ALR. Because when it comes to the ALC, preservation of agricultural land takes precedent over jobs and economic impact.
But hopefully Tolko’s land inclusion offer will have the desired impact.
In exchange for the expanded footprint, 35.8 acres of land in Spallumcheen is being offered to the ALR. So with that in the equation, it’s difficult to see how the ALC could turn them down. But as we all know from past applications, the ALC can surprise us with decisions.
Still, Tolko appears to have all its ducks in a row, and with the support of Coldstream, and pending support from Spallumcheen, it’s hoped the best outcome for all will be realized.