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Enterprise and Aurora Wood Pellets sign memorandum of understanding
Hamlet and company agree to meet on regular basis to discuss issues related to proposed mill in community

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Wednesday, July 13, 2017

Another step was taken on June 28 to move a wood pellet mill in Enterprise closer to reality.

NNSL photograph

Brad Mapes, left, majority owner of Aurora Wood Pellets Ltd., and Enterprise Mayor Craig McMaster, signed a memorandum of understanding on June 28 for the project to build a wood pellet mill in the community. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The mayor of the Hamlet of Enterprise and the majority owner of Aurora Wood Pellets Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

"Basically, it's an agreement between Aurora Wood Pellets and the Hamlet of Enterprise to work together on a few of the issues that are going to be tied to the project that the community needs to be aware of," said Brad Mapes, the company owner.

Mapes explained the MOU is going to be a living document.

"So it's going to be reviewed as our project moves forward," he said. "There could be stuff that could be requested by both parties to decide on how to address it."

For example, he said one issue will be vehicle access to the property.

"When we do get to that point, we need to be able to go to the community and say this is how we'd like to do," he said. "They're going to work with us to figure out a plan with Transportation to figure out how to do it without any issues."

Enterprise Mayor Craig McMaster said the community and the company have agreed to meet on a regular basis, especially up front during the construction process because there are a lot of decisions to be made at that time.

"So we'll grow and evolve and build a relationship between the Hamlet of Enterprise and AWP," he said. "This is a good document. It's a tool that we're able to use for the benefit of all the residents and the industry."

The mayor said the MOU will help with discussions of things such as emergency planning and managing the growth of Enterprise that may result from the wood pellet mill.

"This is the first time Enterprise has ever done anything like this, or any community in the North," he noted. "So we're quite pleased to have this MOU."

McMaster said the MOU is a communication tool by which the two sides can maintain ongoing dialogue.

The Enterprise mayor said, now that the MOU has been signed, it might speed up the project a little bit.

"And I look forward to that," he said.

Mapes said the MOU is definitely a big step in the process leading to a wood pellet mill.

The next major step is finalizing harvesting agreements with Fort Resolution and Fort Providence, which Mapes has targeted for mid-July.

"Obviously, we need timber to be able to do it," said the well-known businessman, who is also the mayor of Hay River. "I'm saying that we're setting that July 15th date and we're pretty positive that we could get it going."

Clearing of the site for the wood pellet mill is well underway on 3,200,000 square metres of land that Aurora Wood Pellets Ltd. bought from the Hamlet of Enterprise.

As of last month, about 150,000 square metres of land had been cleared.

Construction of permanent buildings is expected to begin by May 1 of next year, with that work expected to take about 10 months.

By the time the mill is ready to start operation, it is expected that about $34 million - all raised privately - will have been invested in the project.

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