WINCHESTER –The North Dundas council is doing what it can to help make Sevita’s expansion plan a reality.

The municipality is discussing with Sevita how to move Sevita’s expansion strategy forward.

Until they overcome some challenges the plans are paused.

Sevita has made plans to expand their facility at 11791 Sandy Row.

The new operation would feature a new soybean processing facility, offices and a warehouse adjacent to their existing building.

The seed company had submitted a draft site plan and zoning bylaw amendment request to pave the way for their expansion, while expanding the Sevita operation would prove to be a positive business move for the North Dundas community; there are rules that have to be followed to ensure a successful zoning bylaw amendment application.

The application calls for the South Nation Conservation (SNC) to look at the proposed plan to see if it creates any safety concerns regarding the expansion plan on the location selected by Sevita.

As it turns out, the land Sevita wants to expand on is located on a flood plain. The land itself is not unlike a small island surrounded by lower land.

Ordinarily that would not create too big of an issue for construction and expansion of an existing facility, however in Sevita’a case, the road running to it is low enough, according to the SNC, to create a problem should there be a one in a 100 year flood scenario. The road would be underwater and ambulance and fire trucks would not be able to get to Sevita in the case of an emergency.

The approval of their application cannot come unless the potential flooding issue is addressed.

The solution is straightforward and that is to raise the road high enough above the existing flood plain should a flooding situation occur, then access to Sevita will not be threatened.

The projected cost of raising the road to a safe height including adding a few inches for safety’s sake has been estimated at $500,000.

Sevita is faced with several options to get their road upgraded to deal with flooding issues.

The council decided to help them out as much as they could. They have decided they will discuss with Sevita the many options open to Sevita and the municipality to come up with a shared financial plan to get the job done.

Rather than go for the $500,000 road uplift, the council feels that sticking to the minimum increase in height, which would be 30 cm, would be enough and only cost $200,000.

Mayor Tony Fraser instructed municipal staff to spend sometime with Sevita to see what options could be adopted to fix the road and to pay for it. Fraser believes there are a number of ways the necessary work could be done.

The solutions range from a cost sharing arrangement between the municipality and Sevita to Sevita taking on the financial burden themselves or some other way the two can come together to resolve the flooding issue.

Municipal staff have noted there may be government grants they can tap into that would help with the project should the municipality choose to share the cost.

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