Company pulls out of Chase pellet plant proposal

By Cam Fortems, Kamloops This Week

A company that promised to bring 25 jobs to Chase with the operation of a pellet plant has given up on the location, saying a negative reception has caused it to look at property elsewhere.

Pinnacle Energy chose not to exercise an option to purchase land on Aylmer Road for a pellet plant, despite receiving necessary rezoning from Chase council last year.

“There’s more to it than that [rezoning],” said Leroy Reitsma, president of Pinnacle Renewable Energy, based in Prince George.

“We’re looking for alternative options for locations that might be viewed more favourably.”

Chase Mayor Ron Anderson acknowledged the proposed operation faced fierce resistance from what he called a small number of vocal opponents.

It is the second time in recent years a small number of residents have fought against proposals in the village.

Treetop Flyers, a zipline beside the Trans-Canada Highway, also faced a vocal opposition.

The company ultimately prevailed, however, and remains in operation.

The pellet plant would have created 25 local jobs, with another 15 outside, independent positions.

“That’s very disappointing,” Anderson said.

“Quite frankly, the resistance was small in number, but loud.”

Opponents feared the plant would harm air quality in the valley.

One of them, Jocelyn Nash, said the company picked a location near a fish-bearing stream and residential area.

“We don’t oppose industry,” she said. “We do oppose that particular location for that particular industry.

“If there’s industry that’s clean, we welcome you.”

Reitsma stressed, however, the company has not given up on the region.

“We don’t want to create the perception we’re negative about Chase at large,” he said.

“It’s the particular property that’s a contentious one . . .

“It’s not we’re being chased away, but we’re entertaining all the options.”

The company plans to use fibre supply in the region, including from Adams Lake Lumber.

Anderson said he hasn’t given up, noting the company could locate in a rural area near by the village.

The land also remains zoned industrial and could be developed by another firm.

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