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Terrace Bay eyes possible solar farm

The town has found a new initiative that could help to rebuild its economy through solar farming.

TERRACE BAY — The Township of Terrace Bay is feeling the crunch from the shutdown of the Terrace Bay pulp mill as businesses reduce operating hours and people relocate to find work.

Jonathan Hall, the town's chief administrative officer, said there's not a lot of change in information.

"We're in regular contact with (AV Group, which is part of Aditya Birla) and they're optimistic there's still a viable buyer out there," Hall said. "They have not ruled out reopening under the existing owner. I think anybody who's looking to buy that mill is going to do their due diligence and it's going to take a long time for them to come to a decision."

Meanwhile, the town has found a new initiative that could help to rebuild its economy through a partnership with EDF Renewables and their development of a solar farm.

"They actually approached us," Hall said. "They did a presentation to council sometime in February and council was supportive of the initiative so in negotiations with them right now trying to see if we can make this work."

He added that an Independent Electricity System Operator request for proposal will be issued for generation space on the grid sometime in 2025.

"I think a lot of power development is going to respond to that and we definitely have space with an underutilized airport," Hall said.

He said the project could generate $200,000 annually for the community through leasing of the property.

Among the creation of some jobs for the building of the infrastructure, the revenue generated from the project will replace the mill's taxation.

"It's the revenue aspect what the township was looking for," Hall said.

With the possible development of the solar farm, an end could loom for the Superior Classics Car Club's annual Terrace Bay Drag Fest, which utilizes the former airport runway twice a year for its events.

At this point, Hall says nothing has been finalized.

"We don't have a final design or how much room they're going to need or how big the farm is actually going to end up being in the end. But the car club will definitely be able to continue its operations and annual events for at least the next three years, maybe even up to year four and five," he said.

"We'll be in close communication with them and it will be a blow to the community to lose that event. But the township has to look long term and the revenues that can be derived from having this solar farm."

Speculation about Nadin Contracting building a quarter-mile drag race in Thunder Bay was quickly squelched by the contractor.

Nadin Contracting said drag racers typically look for an old airport runway that has the pavement infrastructure to accommodate this style of racing.

Drag racers would have to travel to the U.S. for racing events.

The Chronicle Journal / Local Journalism Initiative


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