Bonnyville Councils Endorse the Taiga Project

Osum asks for support for Taiga project

As part of an on-going initiative to communicate with municipalities affected by the upcoming development of Osum’s Taiga project, the company has written to both the MD of Bonnyville and the Town of Bonnyville councils requesting letters of support.

Justin Robinson, communications co-ordinator for Osum, said the application is for a 35,000 barrel a day project; however, their website states the Taiga project has the potential for up to 45,000 barrels per day.

Though construction has not yet begun for the Taiga project, Robinson explained the project has been nearly four years coming, with planning and engineering now nearly complete.

“All of the front-end engineering design is basically complete at this point,” he said. “In December of 2009, we filed the commercial application and the environmental impact assessment for the project. And then that began the regulator review process.

“At this point, we’re targeting regulatory approval sometime this year and then based on that, hopefully we can begin this year,” he said, not stating an exact start date for construction. He did admit the process has taken longer than initially planned.

He said this is partly because they took the time to communicate with stakeholders, as well as planning other initiatives.

“We have made changes to our plans based on the feedback we’ve received,” he said, in regards to building and design changes.

Part of their communication has been to ensure the municipalities affected will have the opportunity to voice their concerns or requests prior to development; thus, why they sent a letter to both councils asking for support of the Taiga project.

“We requested the letters to ensure that the benefits of the project are given serious consideration,” he said.

“We estimate that the project will deliver close to $3 billion in new capital investment over the entire life of the project.”

The life of the project should be at least 30 years, explained Robinson, and throughout that time, communities surrounding the Taiga project will see a number of benefits in regards to employment and training.

“You’re going to see new skills, training opportunities, a significant number of jobs both in construction and during operations,” he said. “Then throughout operations you’ll see a significant contribution to the tax base in the Lakeland area.”

Osum also recognises how their success depends on the success of the municipalities affected by the Taiga project.

“We do really understand that our success is very much tied to the success of the communities where we operate and it depends on that,” said Robinson.

Some of the measures Osum has taken to decrease their environmental footprint has included decreasing pollution, trucking and only using fresh water when necessary.

“We use absolutely no fresh water for steam generation,” he said. “There will be a small amount of fresh water for basic utilities within the plant, but that’s it.”

Last week, both Town and MD council moved to send a letter of support to Osum for the Taiga project and both motions were carried.

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