Minto approves sale of land for shrimp hatchery

A 5,000-square-foot shrimp hatchery is one of two projects recently approved for the Palmerston Industrial Park.

On April 4 Minto council approved a recommendation from  business and economic manager Belinda Wick-Graham to proceed with the sale of a one-acre parcel of land to Ranjan Pradhan, president of Shrimp Canada.

In a report to council, Wick-Graham noted Pradhan requires the use of a private well for the breeding portion of his business.

“Mr. Pradhan is aware that this is an un-serviced parcel of land and when the time comes for the town to extend services past the property his will be required to connect to those services,” the report notes.

However, Pradhan will be able to keep his well for the breeding portion of the business.

The report also points out Pradhan requested first right of refusal for five years on the five acres abutting the lot he is purchasing.

Wick-Graham pointed out  Pradhan has received funding for this initiative from Bio Enterprise, a business accelerator offering services to help promote the creation, growth and expansion of businesses engaged in agri-technologies.

She also noted the Wellington County economic development department supplied the town with a lead on the project.

“Staff feels it would be great to be connected to this innovative project, which would create local higher end jobs, improve biosecurity and create a higher quality local food source, as well as see the potential for increased aquaculture in our region,” Wick-Graham  stated.

She indicated staff initially had concerns about the  use in the industrial park, as it doesn’t comply with current zoning.

However, after speaking to county planning staff, they concluded a zoning bylaw amendment to permit use in the industrial park “may have merit” without triggering an Official Plan amendment.

A site specific industrial zone to allow for aquaculture would allow the use, the report notes.

Wick-Graham pointed out Pradhan’s offer was for the town’s full $10,000 per acre asking price.

Storage and rental unit

Council also agreed at the meeting to sell an acre of land to Shaun Weale to construct a 6,500- to 7,000-square-foot building for the full asking price of $15,000 per acre.

A report from Wick-Graham notes 2,500 square feet would be used as storage for Weale’s mechanical insulation business and the remainder would be used as a rental property.

Extending services

Another project, on the edge of the industrial park,  has Minto officials considering the probability of extending services within and beyond the existing park.

Andrew Bauman, owner/operator of Tri-Coat Wood Finishing Ltd., is planning a 10,565-square-foot addition of his current shop (about 6,000 sq.ft.), originally built in 2004.

Council approved a site plan for the project April 4.

“This property is right on the edge of our municipal services and you see all the activity and it will be sooner rather than later … but the pumping station and water line extension on Minto road is probably a very imminent project,” stated CAO Bill White.

“We will be working with our senior management group and Triton Engineering for an overall plan for that entire area, because I think when we do that work we want to expand the services out to other land perhaps.”

Harriston Class EA update

The town is also looking at servicing additional land in the Harriston Industrial Park.

In 2014 the town initiated a Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for about 66 acres of municipal land at the edge of the Harriston facility, which had run out of serviced lots.

White reported that based on the servicing review to date, it appears the EA should limit future expansion to only those lands that can be serviced by gravity sewers.

To accomplish this, he explained in his report, the town will need to drop the sewer on John Street in front of Farm Fresh Poultry and Phoenix Broadcast to allow gravity flow.

The recently-built John Street pumping station will eventually need pump upgrades and a standby generator to service added flow from the industrial area and all of the proposed Schickedanz subdivision.

To improve water flow for fighting fires, the water line on John Street to Adelaide will need to be replaced/constructed at 12 -15. Stormwater will be managed at source on-site so the pond at the back of the 55 acres is not needed.

“Although costs are not yet final this approach should provide more realistic supply of lots for the town to service affordably within a 10-year time frame,” the report states.

White estimated it would cost around $625,000 to service 11 acres in an initial phase of the project.

“If you don’t do the work for three or four years, prices on this kind of stuff aren’t going down,” he noted.

“The good News is, we know it can be serviced and the size of the project is not out of the realm of the affordable,” especially given new upper tier funding sources potentially available through the Clean Water and Waste Water program.

Mayor George Bridge said, “With this 10-year commitment from the government for some funding, we have to be ready for it.”

White said, “If we had 10 million-dollar projects that we put on our priority list with this council and the next one, we’d be ready to go each year with a project that the province can approve.”

White added the proposed extension of services in Harriston should cover development needs in that area for the foreseeable future.

“I think 28 to 30 acres of industrial land in Harriston would probably last quite a long time,” he predicted.

However, the CAO suggested council may want to take on service extension projects in Palmerston as a priority, given the current interest in properties there.

Wick-Graham agreed, saying, “With the demand in Palmerston right now, there’s a lot going on over there and we know there needs to be work done with the pumping station and extending services. We would probably suggest doing that work first.”

“Palmerston’s going like crazy, where 10, 12 years ago it was not,” observed councillor David Turton.

“We have to plan for it, because it’s going to happen,” Turton added.

Mayor George Bridge noted there is a lack of “shovel-ready employment lands” throughout Wellington County and Minto is benefiting from the foresight of previous councils to set land aside for development.

“We’ve got to give our previous councils a lot of credit for going out there. I’m sure at a time when dollars were tight, they took it upon themselves to create that land and that’s why we’re prospering today,” Bridge stated.