Regina land squabble points to possible canola crush plant

Multiple reports say Viterra has purchased a block of land in northeastern Regina next to Federated Co-operative Ltd.’s refinery to construct a canola crushing facility.

Viterra hasn’t confirmed it is the buyer or that it plans a crush plant.

However, during the April 12 meeting of Regina city council, FCL expressed its objection to the sale of 633.57 acres north of the Co-op Refinery Complex.

FCL recently purchased True North Renewable Fuels, which had proposed a renewable diesel plant for the city. Building the facility next to the refinery was a possibility that seems unlikely after this land sale.

In a letter to council, FCL vice-president of strategy Pam Skotnitsky said the sale was rushed, the buyer was given preferential treatment to purchase at below appraised value, and the sale was not transparent.

“The public announcement of our acquisition of True North Renewable Fuel on April 9, which was shared in confidence earlier, highlighted our interest in locating a renewable diesel facility adjacent to the Co-op Refinery Complex,” said the letter. “The sale of the land as proposed jeopardizes our planned investments and would force us to select a location apart from the City of Regina.”

The land is in the middle of city-owned land, and the buyer could have chosen to purchase its block to the east or to the west to leave land available for both parties, said FCL.

The sale price is $4 million, well below the appraised value of $6.3 million., but documents provided to council indicate that the development planned for the site would add $500 million to the region’s GDP and indirectly support 1,500 jobs.

This isn’t the first time since the new city council took office last fall that council members and FCL have been at odds.

In January, council considered a motion to ban fossil fuel companies from sponsorship and advertising opportunities within the city. The motion initially gained favour but was withdrawn.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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