Proposed canola-crushing facility concerns Uplands residents
REGINA -- Bev Leung has lived in Regina’s Uplands neighbourhood for 39 years. She’s dealt with the Co-op Refinery being just a few kilometres away, and a railroad track behind her home. But news of Viterra’s proposed canola-crushing facility approximately one kilometre from her backyard, isn’t sitting well with Leung.
“I don’t know if I could get accustomed to a smell. I just don’t know, I just don’t know what I’ll do,” said Leung.
She’s also worried about the effect the project could have on her property value, potential noise from the facility and an increase in heavy trucks cutting through the neighbourhood.
“We’re worried that there will be possibly an uptake in traffic,” she said. “Even though (the city has) assured us it won’t happen, the chances are, like any other road, it’s open for use.”
Leung isn’t the only Uplands resident with concerns. Ward 7 City Councillor, Terina Shaw, hosted a virtual town hall on Tuesday evening, to answer questions about the project.
“Being a mortgage broker and working with real estate, real estate value goes up when things like this come into a community. I know Esterhazy, their house market is absolutely ridiculous because of the plant that they have there,” said Shaw during the meeting.
Mayor Sandra Masters said she recently spoke to Yorkton’s mayor about Viterra’s proposed plant, as Yorkton currently has two canola crushing facilities.
“The only concern that they’ve heard about occasionally is the odour, and it’s not a noxious smell. It smells like food,” Masters said.
In an emailed statement, a Viterra spokesperson said all regulatory conditions will be met, and “We will be utilizing modern, state of the art technology in the construction of this plant, that will minimize any potential disruptions, including air emissions, odour and noise. As well, all truck traffic to and from the facility will follow designated truck routes.”
The city said Viterra will have to work with the Ministry of Environment to undertake it’s own environmental assessment. However, Leung said the city should also do their own assessment, given the plant’s potential close proximity.
“We’re not the heart of the city, we know that. And we don’t want to stop people from being willing to build large plants in the area, we support that. We are just really concerned with how close it is to Uplands,” said Leung.
The project still has to go through finalization of various permits, licensing and approvals before it can be completed. Viterra aims to have the plant operational by late 2024.