Council gives nod to biochar rezoning
By Angelica Ingram
Jan. 24, 2017
An application for a zoning bylaw amendment that would permit the construction of a biochar facility on Kennaway Road has been approved by Dysart council.
The approval was passed unanimously at council’s Jan. 23 meeting, following a delegation from concerned resident Laurie Wheeler and more questions answered by project manager Nina Shock.
The facility is a project of the Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve and was recommended for approval by the Dysart planning committee on Dec. 5.
The zoning amendment is to change the property from its current zoning of general industrial, extractive industrial and rural type 1 to a general industrial 8 exception zoning.
The property, which is already zoned for industrial purposes, has a history of being used as a sawmill and wood pellet manufacturing business.
A site plan for the project was set to be finalized once the zoning was confirmed, said municipal planner Patricia Martin.
During a delegation to council, Wheeler, who owns property on Drag Lake, said she had many issues with the project.
“I’m here out of a concern for Haliburton,” she told council. “We don’t have all the info and we’re not fully informed.”
Wheeler said the approval process from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change typically takes between 12 to 24 months.
“What’s the rush to approve this?” asked Wheeler.
As far as Wheeler knew the applications for approval had not yet been submitted to the ministry.
Later in the meeting Shock said they had been submitted on Dec. 30, 2016 and that the Forest would be requesting the approvals be expedited, hoping to receive them in the next six months.
Wheeler also said the site plans are conflicting and that no analysis has been done on the visual impact.
“You don’t have the information and you’re approving this,” said Wheeler.
Dysart Reeve Murray Fearrey said council was still waiting on the approvals from the MOECC.
Fearrey said he also has property on Drag Lake and that if the zoning change is approved, the facility will be located further away from the lake.
“Council sees this as moving the footprint on the property until approvals are in place,” he said.
The facility will be located at 1088 Kennaway Road and will produce biochar through a process that involves heating sawdust and other wood products using pyrolysis.
“If this bylaw is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, the applicant has advised that they will redesign the project to take advantage of the existing “M” zone, rather than fight the appeal at the OMB.
“The site plan and agreement will be finalized once the outcome of the zoning by-law is known,” wrote Martin in her staff report.
Shock told council that she would be meeting with residents of Drag Lake this coming weekend to answer further questions.