Irving building compressed gas plant in Rusagonis
Area residents given no opportunity for input
Irving Energy has been given approval to build a compressed natural gas facility just outside of Fredericton, which has some area residents upset they weren’t consulted and concerned about the possible impacts.
The 100-square-metre plant in Rusagonis will include a compressed natural gas operation, metering stations, natural gas dryers, and a truck loading dock.
It will be built on Nevers Road, across from Irving's busy gas station, and is expected to be operational by the fall.
But the local service district committee — which usually works with the provincial government on services because the rural community doesn’t have a municipal council — only found out about the project last week, according to committee member David Shipley.
The province’s rural district planning commission gave the go ahead without seeking input, he said.
Although committee members are keen on the development, they wanted to attach conditions to the approval, such as a traffic study, increasing the buffer zone around the facility, and the possibility of getting water storage on the site in case a forest fire broke out, said Shipley.
Instead, they are left feeling powerless and questioning what powers the rural district planning commission really has, he said.
"As part of the terms and conditions, we were hoping that the rural planning commission would explore this. And the way they explained this is they don't have the power to attach the terms and conditions. Which, if you were a town or a city, you could attach all kinds of conditions to any project you wanted to," he said.
Irving Energy general manager Darren Gillis said safety is "absolutely critical" to the company.
"If this business cannot be done safely, we will not be in this business," he said.
Still, some residents are worried about what effect the plant will have on traffic.
Irving expects to have about 25 tractor trailers moving in and around the site, according to its proposal.
Gillis says it could be more, depending on consumer demand.
But Cathy Dymond says it’s already a busy road.
"Lots of motorcycles going by, speeding, nobody does the speed limit usually here, they’re always going way too fast," she said.
"Yeah, it is busy, especially with the Irving [gas station] there, in the summer time, it’s twice as busy."
Gillis said there "may be a requirement for a traffic study.
"If there is, we'll implement it appropriately," he said.