Pea processing facility planned for Moose Jaw

A German company plans to build a $100 million green pea processing plant in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Canadian Protein Innovation has a conditional offer to buy 100 acres of land in the southeastern corner of the city and intends to begin construction in the summer of 2017.

“It’s a facility that will process green peas and produce numerous products,” said Deb Thorn, economic development officer for Moose Jaw.

The fractionation plant will produce and export pea protein and other products.

Plans are to build the plant in two phases. The first phase is expected to cost $60 million and employ 60 people. The second phase is expected to cost $40 million and employ another 40 people.

“From what I understand, the phase two happens fairly quickly. It’s not like years later,” said Thorn.

The city has been in contact with local suppliers who will provide Saskatchewan-grown peas for the facility.

Thorn was reluctant to provide further information. She said those details will emerge when the company hosts an open house meeting to discuss its plans with area residents on Nov. 9.

Not much is known about Canadian Protein Innovation other than it was the provincial government that lured the German company to Moose Jaw. There is no company website and Thorn was unwilling to provide contact information.

Rick Swenson, who farms near Moose Jaw, said the city has been oddly close-mouthed about the project. He said a pea processing plant would be a super development for area farmers. He is surprised the focus will be green peas because the region is mostly known for yellow pea production.

“If there’s a buck to be made guys will switch,” he said.

Swenson uses effluent from the city to irrigate and fertilize his crops. The waste-water lagoons are located next to where the plant will be constructed. His 10-year agreement with the city expired last year. In the past, it has been immediately renewed but not this time.

“They’re not negotiating right now with us because, I don’t know, something is going on with this plant,” said Swenson.

“They say they want to change the agreement but they won’t tell us what they want to change.”

The land the company is buying from the city is located outside the city limits in the Rural Municipality of Moose Jaw.

There are a number of pre-approved uses for the land, such as building fertilizer plants or livestock operations.

A pea processing plant falls outside those pre-approved uses, so the company is required to submit a discretionary use application to the RM. That is what the meeting on Nov. 9 is about.

The plant would be the anchor tenant in what the city hopes will become an industrial park. It has subdivided 330 acres of land for the park, which has access to the Canadian Pacific Railway main line.

“Our target market is ag value-added processors,” said Thorn.

The city has the ability to extend the park by another 700 acres if needed. Thorn said the land sale hinges on whether Canadian Protein Innovation receives discretionary use approval from the RM. Other hurdles include complying with regulations and getting the financing in place.

“This is a project that’s not only good for Moose Jaw, but certainly a project that’s good for Saskatchewan,” said Thorn.

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