A development permit application for Sicamous’ biomass facility wound up fuelling discussion around industrial park landscaping.
At its Aug. 10 meeting, the district’s planning and development committee supported a recommendation to council that a development permit be issued for construction of a biomass heating system at 510 Thomsen Place.
The permit application was submitted by Fink Machine Inc., on behalf of the District of Sicamous, to construct a 92-square-metre biomass system on the northeast portion of the property.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Earth Day, April 22, 2022, for the facility’s construction. It will consist of a biomass boiler heating system, supplied and installed by Fink Machine Inc. of Enderby, and boiler house which will repurpose wood waste into fuel, providing heat to buildings in the industrial park.
“We basically had the money arranged through grant funding, but we weren’t sure exactly whether we wanted to power up maybe the elementary school, the rec centre, the curling club and so forth,” Mayor Terry Rysz commented during the ceremony. “And then we came to grips with it and we thought, you know what, we really need to build out our industrial park and what better way… to assist it than putting this bio-energy heat project together here in Sicamous.”
An Aug. 10 staff report to the planning and development committee explains the development property will be screened with landscaping on the north boundary and along the Thomsen Place frontage.
Committee chair, Coun. Jeff Mallmes, raised concern about the landscaping requirement for the industrial park, referring to the property used by Walmart for storage.
“They put in shrubs but they’re all dead,” said Mallmes, suggesting landscaping requirements instead focus on the industrial park entrance, and not be an additional cost for industrial park property owners.
Coun. Gord Bushell agreed, suggesting it would be good to get property owners to contribute to a sign and a nice entrance and “call it a day.”
“It doesn’t have to be beautiful but the entrance should be nice and our entrance looks terrible and the rest of the park looks terrible because the cedars are all dying,” said Bushell. “It’s something we have to look for when we get into our zoning and hopefully we’ll change that when we get our final draft, that we won’t have landscaping in there, that kind of landscaping.”
Regarding the property used by Walmart, district planner Sarah Martin explained the property is still undergoing development and hasn’t yet passed first inspection by staff. She said it was her understanding the dead plants would be replaced before inspection.
As for zoning, Martin explained the district’s new proposed zoning bylaw, landscaping requirements are not specifically tied to a zone.
“We could talk about, for third reading, taking them out and just leaving them to the development permit process,” said Martin, adding it could be changed for industrial parks so it applies just to the entrance and interface areas where things like noise and light can be a concern for neighbouring properties.
“It would just save a bunch of aggravation and time… that land is too expensive to be giving it up,” said Mallmes.
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