Stettler County

Alberta Biobord files for initial development permit

The company is developing a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near Stettler

Alberta Biobord has announced that the company has filed for its first development permit with the County of Stettler.

“This first step to build a straw-fibre based pellet plant will start a process that will bring thousands of jobs to the Stettler area,” said George Clark, president of Alberta Biobord.

“We are seeking to bring manufacturing back to Alberta starting by taking advantage of Alberta’s natural carbon advantages. Our initial step is to build a plant that will manufacture renewable BioMass Solid Straw Fuel Pellets. We believe Stettler will be an incredible home base for us to start this Alberta economic renaissance.”

There was a delay in the filing for the first development permit as the County doesn’t have a development officer to handle larger applications of this specific nature, he added.

Therefore, it had to go to a Red Deer-based consultant agency.

“We believe that we have managed to mitigate all potential concerns via well-engineered solutions, such as ensuring that all fibre deliveries and subsequent handling occurs indoors using quiet overhead cranes and floor conveyers rather than loud outdoor loaders,” added Clark.

“We look forward to quickly answering any queries they might have as well as continuing to engage with all County residents regarding our project. Our understanding is that they can give us a response via the MPC at any time they choose.”

In other recent developments, Alberta Biobord has recently renovated and opened a new 15-person office in Stettler while preparing to break ground this fall on property just north of Stettler.

“We did obtain a business license with the Town of Stettler to operate our administration, sales and marketing operations,” said Clark, adding that the office is located at 4708 – 41 St.

“So for the past two months we’ve been renovating it – it has 15 offices and two reception areas and two boardrooms and a large shop in the back, so it’s sufficient for all of those types of requirements,” he said.

“And once we hopefully get the development approval in place, we will be able to begin staffing that office to start marketing our future products,” he explained.

The company also last month closed a special offering that offered an opportunity for smaller local investors to invest in Alberta Biobord.

Clark said that a follow-up investment opportunity will open up soon and investors are advised to contact Alberta Biobord or watch the social media pages for updated links.

This past spring, County council passed second and third reading of Bylaw No. 1659-21 which proposed an amendment to Land Use Bylaw 1443-10 by rezoning the NW 9-39-19W4M from the Agricultural District to the Industrial District.

This change meant that Alberta Biobord could proceed to the next step of development.

Some of the project details include a straw and waste wood-based 300K/yr MT Pellet Mill plant and building the world’s highest capacity straw fibre MDF board and value-added integrated factory.

Alberta BioBord has also designed a project to manufacture 450 million sq. ft. of 3/4” equivalent thick medium density fibreboard (MDF) using wheat straw as the raw material to meet a third of the current North American MDF market shortage.

Clark has noted how how Stettler proved to be an ideal place for the facility, what with a large base of workers for both construction and operation within a 45-minute radius of the community.

“Most residents are very, very supportive – they recognize the value of having additional employment and contracting opportunities in the region,” he said.

“It’s also largely been an education process where obviously there are always going to be some concerns on a new project coming into an area, so we’ve been heavily engaged with the public both in person and on social media. But most successfully in person – when we are able to address issues head on,” he said.

“Once they find out what some of our plans are, and how we are going about things, they become highly supportive. Most of the concerns are from people who haven’t had a chance to sit down and go into our plans in detail,” he added.

“As the information comes forward, and the extensive development permit application becomes publicly available, we are sure that we have done enough to ensure that even those who formerly had some concerns will become highly supportive,” he said, adding that the plan is to be operational by next year.

And plans are already coming together for further expansion across the region down the road as well, he noted.