Lethbridge considers $18M water pipeline for potato plant expansion


Alberta’s Lethbridge County is considering a $6-million loan to fund an 18,300-metre water pipeline for the massive expansion of a local potato processing plant.

The water pipeline is estimated to cost $18 million and would connect the Town of Coaldale to the McCain Foods plant as it undergoes a $600-million expansion that would add new production lines, wind turbines and solar panels.

“This is the largest investment in their 65-year history, doubling the workforce by creating an estimated 260 jobs,” Reeve Tory Campbell told County Council about McCain Foods. “It will see exponentially more potatoes purchased from local producers to export finished products across the globe.”

McCain Foods CEO Max Koeune announced in a statement that renewable biogas generated at the plant’s wastewater treatment facility will be maximized and transported to the steam boilers to offset natural gas demands. A water recycling system will also be implemented to produce clean potable water to be used in the manufacturing process.

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Construction on the expansion is expected to start later this year. The debenture would be repayable over a period not to exceed 25 years.

County Council carried first reading of the proposed bylaw at an April 20 meeting. Second and third readings of the proposed bylaw are scheduled to take place in June.

The proposed bylaw would see up to $6 million borrowed from an accredited financial institution in the form of a debenture. This would cover a portion of the $18 million cost of installing the water pipeline needed to accommodate the water requirements of the McCain facility expansion.


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