SDG Counties approves biodigester’s road exemption

CORNWALL – A North Dundas-based biodigester project’s request for a half-loads exemption was approved by SDG Counties council Monday, sort of.

In November 2023, Nick Thurler with GET Corp. made a presentation to SDG council about the biodigester project his firm was constructing and made a request to lift the spring half-loads restrictions for their fleet of vehicles.

Biodigesters extract methane from animal manure producing a form of renewable natural gas, and claim to provide better quality fertilizer for farmers for crop use.

At the time of his presentation, Thurler said that the current half-loads restriction would require his company to significantly expand its fleet of trailers for hauling source material.

During the spring half-loads period, commercial vehicles are limited to 5,000 kilograms per axle to preserve the supporting infrastructure base of county roads.

The company requires approximately 120 tonnes of material per day for operation.

A compromise for Thurler was proposed that the existing half-loads bylaw has a provision that allows vehicles up to 7,500 kg per axle. This requires a yearly seasonal permit and for the agriculture producer’s shipments to be declared an “essential agricultural- related move.”

Councillor Steve Densham (North Stormont) expressed concerns about the precedent being set by granting the permits.

“If we allow this, how many other corporations who use farming products or by-products on a day-to-day basis are going to be looking for a similar exception,” Densham said. “I’m happy to see this be a one-year or a two-year pilot so that Mr. Thurler can crunch the numbers on this.”

Councillor Martin Lang (South Glengarry) called this a compromise which is already being used by other companies.

“We’re not waiving the half-loads, we’re adding two-and-a-half tonnes, or what I’d call a three-quarter load,” he said adding that some feed companies already do this. “They don’t get an exemption, just a bump up to make it worthwhile to have a truck go down the road.”

Certain exemptions for the agriculture industry are already in place including milk trucks.

Council approved a bylaw to allow the exemption permit approved. The permit only affects SDG Counties, GET Corp. must apply for similar permits for township roads.

Also at Counties Council…

Martintown Bridge under budget – A planned $2.3 million rehabilitation of the County Road 18 bridge in Martintown will be significantly lower. SDG Counties councillors approved the bid from KB Civil Constructors for $1,424,289 for the project, nearly $900,000 under budget. The bridge was to be rehabilitated in 2023 but was deferred as the project came in over budget then. This year, there were six contractors who bid on the project to fix up the nearly 40 year old bridge. Any surpluses from the project will be used towards other road and bridge projects needed in the department.

Concerns were expressed by members of council as the KB Civil Constructors bid was significantly lower than the next lowest bid.

Mike Jans, manager of infrastructure for the Counties told council that the company’s references were checked.

“We have no reason to believe that they can’t do this project,” Jans said.

Work on the bridge will begin this spring following the annual Raisin River Canoe Race.

Surplus money from the project may be used later in the construction season to work on a culvert project that was deferred in the 2024 Counties budget.

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news in your community by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.

Subscribe to Email Alerts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Email Alerts and receive notifications of new posts by email whenever The Leader publishes new content on our website.