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Hay River ready and willing for pellet project
Town council endorses project

Sarah Ladik
Northern News Services
Published Saturday, February 15, 2014

HAY RIVER
Hay River's town council came out in support of the proposed Aurora Wood Pellet project Feb. 10, going so far as to make a motion to work with the GNWT to expedite the development of lands in the municipality for commercial, residential, and industrial use to help the initiative.

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Hay River Councillor Brad Mapes discusses the plan for the Aurora Wood Pellet project, for which he is the principal proponent, last year. Mapes sat out of the Feb. 10 council vote to support the project due to the conflict of interest. - NNSL file photo

Councillors have said they need room to build office space and houses for workers, and agreed that the availability of land is an issue for anyone looking to develop.

Several noted that as a group they have been asking to see a land map created by administration for some time.

Couns. Brad Mapes, the project's main proponent and an investor, was not a part of the discussion due to the conflict of interest.

"I think what we need to do is identify land to sell as a large parcel and offer an incentive to a developer to buy the land and work out a way for them to pay as us as properties are sold, something of that nature," said Coun. Keith Dohey. "I think we need to have the town sit down with Mr. Mapes. We see him in a different capacity all the time, but it's important that we have that discussion."

Having pledged support, councillors then discussed what the town's next step should be.

"Are we ready for it as a town?" asked Mayor Andrew Cassidy, after proclaiming his support for the project and his belief in the economic impact it would have in Hay River and the South Slave. "Are there things we can do to get ready for this?"

Coun. Vince McKay agreed with the plan to look at facilitating land development but also added a note of caution.

"I donít think we should be developing land on speculation," he said.

McKay then made reference to the town's 17-floor high rise, built in the 1970s in hopes mine workers would fill it.

"I don't think that was ever paid for," he said.

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