SANDRA M STANWAY BROOKS BULLETIN
Pace Canada Ltd. has proposed construction of an 18.5 megawatt solar farm at the northwest corner of Brooks within city limits just west of the Uplands area.
As proposed, the Salt Flats solar farm would include about 30,500 panels installed on between 100- 120 acres of land. It would be slightly larger than the Brooks II farm east of the city on Highway 1.
Claude Mindorff, the director of development for Pace and a Rosemary resident, said the privately owned land is close to a quarter section.
“We were specifically looking for the land to build a solar facility inside the municipality of Brooks,” he said. “The land is agricultural but it is subpar agricultural, hence the name Salt Flats. It’s a very alkaline quarter section.
The family that owns it grazes a few head of cattle every year but that’s the sum total of the agricultural use of the land,” Mindorff said.
He said the parcel did not fall into the city’s master plan for housing or commercial and there is a willing landowner to lease the land.
“We’re just getting started on the project,” he said. The assessments and studies, such as environmental and from Fortis, are being worked on and will be submitted to the AUC upon completion as part of the application process.
“We have to start talking about it now because there’s no point going far down the road if you don’t have public support for the project,” he said.
The public engagement is underway with the first public information session on Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Brooks Public Library. A presentation is expected to be made to city council on Jan. 3.