Recent History – 2001
March 27, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The Peace River Regional District (PRRD) will continue to keep the area’s name in the spotlight amongst those seeking a home for an ethanol plant.
PRRD directors generally agreed that a report prepared by Wes Anderson of Canadian Agricultural Strategies Inc. gives reason to believe that the Peace would have a chance to attract such a plant.
Between whitewood, bark, and straw, Anderson said in the report that there is enough feedstock in the region to support a small to medium sized facility.
“The region’s location with respect to Edmonton and potential back haul truck traffic to blending facilities adds to this regional advantage,” Anderson added in the report.
But the competition looks to be tough. According to an industry-government group, Ethanol B.C., Prince George is the only region in the province that can meet the four criteria it had set out for establishing a wood ethanol plant.
Only by combining straw and bark with whitewood, would the Peace River be able to secure enough feedstock to compete with the Prince George proposal according to Anderson.
And matters weren’t helped by the fact that the Peace River region was given no opportunity to make any representation to Ethanol B.C. before their report was drafted.
While Ethanol B.C. expressed strong doubts about the development of a commercially viable technology for making ethanol, Anderson said that two ethanol processing facilities are being pursued — one in Ottawa and the other in Vancouver.
Directors voted Thursday to send a copy of Anderson’s report to Ethanol B.C. and request that a member of the PRRD board be appointed to the Ethanol B.C. steering committee.
Not all the directors agreed, however. Electoral area D (rural Dawson Creek) director Albert Erbe said the PRRD is overstepping its role as a government body and that ultimately it is private capital that will decide where a plant will be built.
But Dawson Creek municipal director Blair Lekstrom said that the PRRD could still work on creating an environment that would draw such investors and that the effort would not cost the regional district much money.
“At the end of the day, if ethanol is viable, I want to make sure the Peace is at the forefront,” Lekstrom said.