By Trevor Busch
A date has been set for a public hearing in anticipation of a development approval for a composting site as part of the Town of Taber’s new cart-based solid waste initiative.
At their Jan. 25 meeting, town council voted unanimously (6-0) to set a public hearing date of Feb. 22 for the Bio-Can development permit. Mayor Henk DeVlieger was absent from the meeting.
On June 22, 2015, council passed Bylaw 11-2015 which rezoned a portion of 5190 80th Avenue (Block A1, Plan 7819AQ) and a portion of Block B1 Plan 7819AQ, to DC-3. Due to the nature of a Direct Control district, council is the only authority who may approve the development permit, and prior to making a decision on the permit a public hearing must be held.
“There’s a requirement for a public hearing, allowing the chance for the public to come in and voice their concerns with regard to this development, because there’s no appeal period. Many development permits, you can appeal the development permit to the SDAB (Subdivision and Development Appeals Board), but there’s no appeal for this because it’s Direct Control,” said planning manager Cory Armfelt. “The Municipal Government Act indicates it’s best practice to have a public hearing prior to the approval of that development permit.”
Sec. 31 (Direct Control District DC-3) of Land-Use Bylaw 4-2006 requires council to hear any persons affected by development in that area. The development permit application from Bio-Can was expected to have been submitted to the Town of Taber by Feb. 1.
According to their projections, the Town of Taber is expecting to save over $200,000 per year if residents and businesses divert compostable materials to a local treatment facility, although there has been no indication that town residents might see a direct financial benefit from the program passed back to them through reduced waste collection fees or other cost savings.
Providing an update on the proposed development at town council’s Oct. 13, 2015 regular meeting, Don Francis of Bio-Can (the town’s preferred compost developer and operator) confirmed Bio-Can plans to have a compost facility operational in Taber by April 2016.
At the same meeting, Francis went on to confirm the organization is highly motivated to begin an educational component to a composting rollout for the community, tentatively scheduled for early 2016.
Proposed hours of operation for the facility once completed are 8:30 to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, and closed weekends and statutory holidays.
A rectangular clay-lined area spanning approximately five acres, the proposed compost pad will be ringed by a berm to control runoff, dust and litter, and a wind fence will be built at the base of the berm to collect waste debris. Trees are intended to be planted on top of the berm to enhance odour control.