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Permit approved for $2 million Didsbury-area fertilizer plant

Diverge Business Development Inc. plans to produce organically-certified fertilizer out of Mountain View County's East Didsbury Industrial Park

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The county's municipal planing commission (MPC) has approve a development permit for a fertilizer production plant in the Rosebud area immediately east of Didsbury.

The move came by way of motion at the Sept. 1 MPC meeting.

The property involved is located with the East Didsbury Industrial Park in the most southerly lot immediately west of Highway 2A, at NE 17-31-1-5.

The $2 million-plant will be located within an existing shop on a 4.99 acre parcel zoned business park district. 

The lot contains two existing buildings of 10,799 square feet and 6,899 square feet respectively, both of which will be used in support of the proposed facility. No new structures or buildings are proposed.

“The plant will produce organically certified fertilizer consisting of natural soil amendments include gypsum, calcium carbonate, and soft rock phosphate with a soy based binder to bond the products together,” administration said in a briefing note to the commission.

“The raw materials are non-flammable, non-hazardous, and are inert and chemically inactive.”
The manufacturing products will be shipped to the site and stored and processed inside the plant, and the final product will be either bagged or sent in bulk to distributors and farm operators, members heard.

Dust created during the manufacturing process will be collected with two cyclones and two dust collectors.

An emergency plan has been submitted as part of the application. 

“The plan addresses a variety of emergency scenarios, and the key contact information will be supplied once the lot is occupied by the applicants. The applicant is required to create a spill mitigation plan.”

In a note provided to the county as part of the application, the applicant outlined some of the production processes.

“Raw material goes into a hammer crusher, then into a bin, from there into a vertical roller mill,” the note states. “There will be a cyclone and/or baghouse after the cyclone to trap dust particles, and then into another bin, from the bin to a mixer, then to a disk or two depending on throughput needs after that a fluid bed dryer to dry out moisture in product.

“After that into a dryer and from there it will be put into bags, totes or a bin for storage.”

During the Sept. 1 commission meeting applicant William Neville, with Diverge Business Development Inc., said there is a potential for bagged product to be stored outside the buildings.

“It is in bags that don’t leak, and are water-proof and sealed,” he said. “Potentially there could be one-tonne tote bags outside but that would be it.”

The applicant already has a similar plant in operation in Kamloops, B.C., members heard.

Administration recommended approval of the application, saying it complied with the county’s land use bylaw.

The approval comes with a number of conditions, including the following:

•The applicant, landowner and/or operator shall ensure compliance with all federal and provincial requirements for fertilizer production, storage, and distribution, including, but not limited to, the Fertilizer Act and Fertilizer Regulations.

• The emergency response plan shall be provided to the Didsbury Fire Department. A detailed spill contingency plan, outlining the procedure to mitigate potential ground contamination shall also be created and form part of the emergency response plan.

The municipal planning commission is the county’s approving authority, made up of county councillors and appointed members of the public at large.

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