Industrial Water Users May Get Rate Relief

Robert Thomas

A formerly tentative deal, now dead, with a proposed pea protein fractioning plant, has Councillor Brian Swanson proposing for Moose Jaw, a large industrial water user, a rate that is competitive but able to insure that any new industry is sustainable.

In a motion, Councillor Swanson proposed Moose Jaw adopt an industrial water rate based on a percentage of the rate for residential users.

“I'm suggesting we need to bring back an industrial rate for water and sewage and it needs to be a percentage (of the residential rate),” he told Council, adding, “I'm in favour of a flat rate for industrial but it shouldn't be a flat rate based upon a year.”

In the case of Canadian Protein Innovation (CPI), the initial deal included water rates being set at 2015 levels, for five years after the plant became operational, when the rates would be moved to the regular rate.

“If it resurrects itself we have to re-jig the water and sewer proposal. In five or six years you are setting them up for some real grief,” Coun Swanson said.

CPI was supposed to be the largest user of water in the city, consuming about 10 percent of all the water.

Moose Jaw has had lower rates for industry in the past.  The now defunct beef plant, previously owned by Nilson Brothers, closed it's doors in 2005-2006.

The idle beef plant was recently acquired by the Brazilian based JBS Foods, as part of a cash and asset swap to sell their Brooks feedlot back to Nilson Brothers. Industry speculation is the Moose Jaw beef plant could be re-opened now that it has been sold. Work is on-going in the idle plant.

In the quarterly reports, the City Manager mentions working with CPI on acquiring the land and potentially revitalizing it's plans to build a $65 million plant in the Friendly City. The negotiations are still on-going.

One condition of CPI building in Moose Jaw was the ability to secure project funding. The CPI project was backed by the Hamburg, Germany based Bohnhorst Group.

An infrastructure project for $2.35 million shared between the City, Province and Federal governments in the new South East Industrial Park has been deferred until this year in hopes of CPI reincarnating it's pea protein plant plans.

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