Precision Precast Ltd. will not construct its concrete plant in its desired location along Highway 2.
The rezoning bylaw was denied a third reading at the Nov. 27 Ponoka County council meeting.
At the Nov. 6 meeting the bylaw to rezone 52 acres of land for the plant was given first and second reading. Alberta Transportation and West Central Planning Agency also supported the rezoning application. Several nearby landowners were against the plant being built at that location.
However, the council’s votes were not unanimous and the issue was delayed until Nov. 27, when third reading could be approached.
Coun. George Verheire wanted to delay the decision again until all council members were present. However, his motion was not accepted and a decision was made without Coun. Paul McLauchlin.
Councillors Verheire, Gawney Hinkley and Keith Beebe were opposed, while Reeve Gordon Svenningsen voted in favour.
However, both Beebe and Svenningsen agreed the 52 acres chosen by Precast Precision may not be the best location along the highway for the plant.
“I have to speak against this whole situation because it’s in my area, and there’s good support in that area and the people don’t want it,” said Hinkley.
“I think that may be the wrong place for it. I don’t think we have to build a mile and three quarters of highway, which we’d have to build in the future. We’d have to build it and pave it, like we’ve had to have (done) with other industries,” he added; referring to Range Road 263, north from Secondary Highway 604.
Hinkley also believes if the road that would have to be upgraded to the plant is left for residential use only it would stand up for another 50 years.
“It’s not in the right place, I certainly agree with you Gawney,” said Svenningsen, who thought the plant should be located further south along the highway but also believed the plant was a good opportunity for the community.
Beebe said the road leading to the location was narrow and wanted to know how much money it would take to pave the road, with construction costs included.
CAO Charlie Cutforth said if the plant were the only development it would cost $1 million.
However, Cutforth said if the development had proceeded the county wouldn’t have had to pave the road anytime in the near future.
“We were surprised to see this outcome at third reading, after having favorable first and second readings for rezoning a few weeks ago”, said Precision Precast’s Harold Jahn, in a press release
The release also stated Precision Precast will re-apply for an alternative rezoning on the same property. The company is willing to upgrade the range road if required, during the development permit stage.
“Our customers are waiting for our products throughout the province. We hope that Ponoka County councillors will see the benefit of long-term jobs, positive development, and increased taxes for the entire community,” said Jahn.