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Approval upheld for Eckville frac sand transloading facility

The Town of Eckville’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) announced Monday its decision to uphold

The Town of Eckville’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) announced Monday its decision to uphold the Municipal Planning Commission’s (MPC) approval of a development permit for a temporary frac sand transloading facility in Eckville.

The approval comes with a number of new conditions in response to concerns outlined by appellants, namely as they relate to noise, dust, safety, traffic and aesthetics.

The board feels that the conditions of the permit — which mandate dust control and monitoring, noise reduction measures, lighting regulations and the addition of landscaping and screening features as directed — will mitigate those concerns.

The board noted that its decision considered various policies of the Town’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) — one of which is to attract industrial development that increases employment opportunities in town.

In its written decision, it also noted that the approved permit is temporary, and might not be extended beyond 2016.

“This (time) will provide the applicant, residents and the Town of Eckville with a reasonable period of time to assess what actual impact the development has on the area before there is consideration of issuing a new development permit for the development.”

The board concluded that the development will have “minimal” impact on town road infrastructure, and said trucks will access the development from Highway 766. It also noted that it did not anticipate a “significant increase of train activity” in town.

The decision arrived one week after an appeal hearing was held at the Eckville Legion, during which appellants and the applicant — Calgary-headquartered Source Energy Services — presented their cases both in support and opposition of the appeal.

Town council on Monday night directed administration to further talks with Wolf Creek Public Schools about bringing busing to students who live south of the railway tracks in town.

Talks have taken place in the past, but will be stepped up as a result of the appeal board’s decision, say Town staff.