Over eight football fields of storage space on Berger landscape plan

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/11/2020 (695 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The sightlines of the new Berger peat moss processing plant in the RM of Springfield has some area residents concerned, but Berger representatives say the outdoor storage portion of the site is to store already-packaged material.

Nearby resident Allan Akins submitted images to The Carillon of other Berger sites, including near Watsonville, CA and Hadashville. The images show piles of loose material spread out over large areas of land, and outdoor storage of other items.

Akins was concerned about the storage of months’ worth of peat and additives, along with millions of bags of finished product on the Springfield site.

Supplied photo Could the new Berger plant in the RM of Springfield look like this? Berger vice-president Marc Bourgoin says outdoor storage of its products on the property will already be packaged. This image is of the Berger operation by Watsonville, CA, and Bourgoin said the Watsonville location shouldn’t be compared to the Springfield site.

The Quebec-based company’s landscape plan, submitted to the province as part of an environmental review process, notes a great deal of the space at the site would be used for storage of peat, mix, “peat for mix,” and perlite. According to the landscape plan, total space allotted for such storage on the site is more than 525 metres by 1,150 metres.

Such a total space comes to at least eight Canadian football fields.

The storing of loose peat, according to Berger spokesperson Elizabeth Raymond, is to take place in a 16-foot tall bunker with an open section for truck access. Raymond said the bunker is protected from the wind.

Loose material “shouldn’t be anywhere else” on the site, vice-president executive Marc Bourgoin told The Carillon.

Outdoor storage on the reserved tracts of land as part of the landscape plan, according to Raymond, is to be for packaged products.

Bourgoin encouraged concerns be brought to the community liaison committee, established to comply with Manitoba Conservation and Climate.

Berger’s critics question if the committee will accurately reflect or advocate for the public’s concerns.

Unlike a regular RM council meeting, the liaison committee meetings aren’t open to the public and are only between committee members.

Community representation isn’t elected by the public, but appointed by Berger. Local committee representatives, including nearby farmers and Councillor Valerie Ralke, have expressed support of the project.

Akins has collected signatures of some 270 people opposed to the Berger project.

The province granted Berger an environmental license on Aug. 10.

Akins disputes the validity of council’s approval of the project. He argues the project should be classified as industrial or commercial, while Fell argues the project is classified under an agricultural use designation that doesn’t require a municipal public hearing.

The project has yet to be subject a formal municipal hearing process.

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