A proposal to build a large chemical distribution facility just southwest of the Sumas interchange received the conditional blessing of Abbotsford council last week.
Univar Canada wants to build a 68,000-square-foot hub on a five-acre site on McClary Avenue, between Highway 11 and rail lines heading to the United States.
Univar distributes chemicals and other products, many of which are used by agriculture businesses. The facility would include the construction of three large ethanol tanks, and 26 smaller chemical tanks. A rail spur line would be added to allow for ethanol to be transferred into the tanks.
Some chemicals would be blended and/or diluted and packaged inside a large warehouse and production building.
Univar says the plant will employ around 50 people.
Council signalled its approval of the project Monday, though the proposal will return in two weeks’ time for public comment before a development permit is issued.
The proposed heights of both the ethanol tanks and the building will require the city to grant Univar variances from existing rules governing industrial developments.
Trucks leaving the facility will also be banned from making left turns from McClary onto Sumas on weekdays between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. City and provincial officials also hope to strike a deal with a nearby property owner to extend Barron’s Way north to McClary. That would allow trucks from the plant to use the signal light at Barron’s Way to turn north onto Sumas.
Council did not ask about, and staff’s report did not include, information on safety precautions related to the storage and transport of ethanol, which is considered a dangerous good.
Univar did not respond to a request for comment on its safety-mitigation plans.
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