By Justin Seward
Cypress County council passed first reading of Ruben’s Veggies new proposal for their greenhouse project at council’s Feb. 18 meeting.
The proposal is to reclassify a 67.5 acre (27.3 hectare) piece of land from Agriculture District 2 to Agriculture District (A-4- greenhouse).
“We reduced the amount of greenhouse land from 52 to 27 hectares. The new proposal also includes a berm, so that’ll help block the view of the greenhouse and also the distance from the greenhouse to the nearest residence is 188 metres, which is longer than it needs to be,” said Chloe Veurink, Ruben’s Veggies manager of production and sales.
Veurink says the main concern with a lot of people was being worried that they would be as big as Big Marble Farms and is why the vegetable company decided to reduce the building to 27 hectares.
Ruben’s Veggies withdrew their initial proposal last month of building a 10-acre greenhouse on 52 hectares of land after a public hearing late last year that had a majority opposed to the greenhouse because of light pollution, water issues and health conditions.
“We feel like we listened to the concerns and came back with a better proposal,” said Veurink.
“I believe people are still very concerned about light pollution because there is not a very good example around here of a greenhouse using black out curtains. We’re adamant on using excellent technology and extensive blackout curtains that are blacking out 99 per cent of the light and within the regulations to release heat and humidity. They’ll open up to 20 per cent.”
Veurink said “I think we’re demonstrating to the county that we’re willing to work with them in any way we see fit. We’re promoting agriculture but at the same time we’re respecting our neighbours’ wishes.”
County Reeve Dan Hamilton says he liked how the proposed greenhouse project was downsized.
“Looking at that, I do believe they’ve heard the people around them,” said Hamilton.
“They’ve done something. They’ve downsized their acres they applied for.”
The location would be on Range Road 72 and 0.8 kilometres north of Highway 523.
A public hearing will be on March 24.