Residents still asking questions about biochar facility

By Angelica Ingram

Published Nov. 29 2016

An information session held by staff of Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve helped answer more questions about the proposed biochar facility for Kennaway Road.
Held on Nov. 23 at the Haliburton Legion approximately 40 people came out to hear more information about the facility and how it may impact them.

Facilitated by Jim Blake questions ranged from noise concerns traffic issues pollution and more.
The facility is being proposed for 1088 Kennaway Rd. which is already owned by Haliburton Forest in anticipation of building this facility.
A public meeting for the rezoning of the property was held on Nov. 7 with about 50 people in attendance.
The property is currently zoned general industrial extractive industrial environmental protection and rural type 1. The applicants are requesting a zoning change to remove the extractive industrial and rural type 1.
The applicants plan to build a biochar facility which takes raw untreated sawdust and converts it into charcoal through a process called pyrolysis.

The proposal is not dependent on the zoning change as the applicants explained that it could go ahead with the current zoning on the property.
Changing the zoning will impact things such as where the building is located and future uses of the 20-acre property.
The project has been in development for a number of years said Haliburton Forest general manager Malcolm Cockwell.
Some residents expressed concern about how far emissions from the facility would travel past the 20-acre property line.
Others asked if there would be an odour from the emissions.
According to the Forest the emissions are clean clear and odourless.
Project manager Nina Shock said the proposal is undergoing extensive regulations from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
The proposed building will measure about 13000 square feet and the Forest is working with a research partner facility in Iowa.

The decision to build the facility was made in 2015 according to information handed out at the meeting.
The initial number of kilns operating at the site will be one with a maximum capacity of four. The hope is to create three full-time jobs in 2017 the proposed opening of the facility. A potential of 20 or more jobs could be created in the future.
The file will return at the Dec. 5 public meeting which is held in Dysart et al council chambers at 5 p.m.