Regina council approves $5.5M land sale for planned renewable diesel plant by Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

·2 min read
The Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina employs about 1,000 people and is one of the largest private sector employees in the city. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC News - image credit)
The Co-op Refinery Complex in Regina employs about 1,000 people and is one of the largest private sector employees in the city. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC News - image credit)

Regina City Council has approved a $5.5 million sale of land to Federated Co-operatives Ltd., which plans to build a renewable diesel plant.

The co-operative is planning to place the plant next to its existing refinery located north of Regina.

The development and construction of the proposed plant is by no means a done deal.

In a news release issued after city council approved the land deal on Wednesday, Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) says its plans are still "subject to market conditions and securing necessary government approvals and support."

But FCL does make it clear this the first step in what is expected to be a $1.5 to $2 billion investment by the company.

"This project will play a vital role in our transition to the low carbon economy," Scott Banda, CEO of FCL, said in the news release.

Council spent very little time on the subject at its Wednesday council meeting.

Most of the discussion around the land purchase occurred at a previous meeting of the city's executive committee.

A report presented to that committee indicated that in general, renewable diesel can help reduce emissions from long-haul transport, mass urban transit and agricultural operations.

City administration has analyzed the climate impact of Federated Co-operative's request and found "the sale of this land has no direct impact on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions."

In addition to 150 permanent jobs available once the plant becomes operational, city administration believes construction would create 1,500 temporary jobs in Regina.

It would also add more than half a billion dollars to the city's gross domestic product every year.

However, it would also likely mean more traffic on Inland Drive and Fleet Street, and would also need significant additional infrastructure from the city, particularly water access.

Council did discuss issues in-camera but Mayor Sandra Masters confirmed that no decisions were made during that time.

Council had the ultimate decision on the agreement as it wasn't a public offering.

The motion passed nine to two, with Coun. Andrew Stevens of Ward 3 and Coun. Daniel Leblanc of Ward 6 being the only dissenting votes.

The goal is to have the plant operational by 2027 and FCL says it will begin formally assessing the project immediately.

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