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New canola processing facility announced near Camrose 0

Mark Crown/ Camrose Canadian

Local politicians and Cargill officials break ground at the site of the newly announced canola processing facility east of Camrose. Cargill officials expect construction of the proposed plant to be completed in time for the 2014/15 harvest.

Local politicians and Cargill officials break ground at the site of the newly announced canola processing facility east of Camrose. Cargill officials expect construction of the proposed plant to be completed in time for the 2014/15 harvest.

Standing on location in a field east of town, major agricultural producer Cargill announced plans to build a canola processing facility, projecting it will be ready for the 2014 harvest.

Although the canola crush facility will have the capacity to process roughly 850,000 metric tonnes of canola each year and will create 50 new jobs for the Camrose region, the facility is also expected to consume 800 cubic meters of water per day, which could have significant ramifications for the City of Camrose.

Water usage

Doug Collison, vice president of operations and engineering at Cargill said the city would supply the water.

“We are working with the city and the county to come up with the best way to optimize that, to recycle, to minimize the water usage,” Collison said. “But we do need it... it’s just the nature of the process, we have to use steam to heat it up and things like that.”

Mayor Marshall Chalmers said the city was aware of the increase in water usage and would be working with the province and city administration to find the best possible solution.

City manager Damian Herle explained that from an administration perspective, water usage discussions with Alberta Environment were in preliminary stages.

“The city continues to work with Alberta Environment (AE),” he said. “There will be approvals that are needed by AE to both the city and also to the development itself. The city encourages development so we have been working with Cargill in that regard, but there is much work that needs to be done to determine exact requirements and capabilities and capacities of city infrastructure.

“We’re encouraged by news of the development and we have been and will continue to work closely with the developers, but everything hinges on approvals from AE that could not only satisfy the needs of the development but first and foremost, satisfy long term water needs of Camrose residents.”

Camrose County administrator Steven Gerlitz confirmed that Camrose County would be providing the domestic water (office plumbing and wastewater etc.), adding that all of the water for the processing would come solely from the City of Camrose through their raw water intake.

“The raw water will come from the city through their intake, the domestic water will come through the county through our Ohaton regional water line,” he said.

Approval still needed

The Cargill facility is still seeking numerous required approvals from Camrose County before the plant can be built.

In the county there are three bylaws which must be approved by council: a redistricting bylaw (from agricultural to rural industrial), a road closure bylaw and an area structure plan.

“The county has received all three,” Gerlitz said. “Council will be considering first reading at the Oct. 9 council meeting for all three bylaws.”

There is an open house planned for county residents Nov. 27 with more details to be released at a later date.

Local processing

The facility will have the capacity to produce both conventional and specialty canola seed and expects to produce roughly 40 per cent oil and 60 per cent canola meal.

Cargill hopes a significant amount of the canola it processes will come from within a 300 km radius of the facility and commercial manager for Cargill’s Canadian canola processing business Ken Stone said Camrose was an obvious choice for the location.

“It’s got a nice climate, so production of canola is very steady,” he said. “We see a lot of depth in the marketplace and a lot of regional depth.”

Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Verlyn Olson thinks the project is a positive step for Alberta as this is the first new canola crush facility to be built in Alberta for more than three decades.

“This project is a tremendous opportunity for Alberta’s agricultural sector, Cargill and the Camrose area,” he said.

“The addition of value-added operations, such as this processing plant, helps to further diversify our agricultural sector and enhance our competitiveness and ability to meet the demands of consumers in Alberta and in the global marketplace.”

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