Kneehill County council approved second and third reading to redesignate a parcel of land from Agriculture District to Light Industrial District to allow potential development of a cryptocurrency mining facility during the regular Tuesday, May 10 council meeting.
The proposed facility will be located on an existing 1.04 acre Ember Resources surface lease approximately two kilometres southwest from the hamlet of Torrington.
“Kneehill County recognizes the importance of a balanced taxbase and strives to create opportunities for commercial, agricultural, industrial and tourism growth,” explained manager of Planning and Development Barb Hazelton during the meeting.
Council heard how the facility will be owned and operated by Alberta-based company Fire Technology Corporation which operates several cryptocurrency mining facilities internationally in China and Kazkhstan.
The facility will not be connected to the electrical grid and will instead use between seven and nine natural gas-powered generators to power the facility; it is estimated there will be seven to nine containers located on the site, with each container housing some 300 high-tech mining machines with multiple fans. There will also be a small office on-site with communication equipment.
Fire Technology is proposing to complete development in two phases, though it is expected both will be completed by the end of 2022.
Ms. Hazelton noted data centres such as the proposed facility are permitted within the Light Industrial District as a discretionary use, and noted the applicants will still need development permit approval from the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) before proceeding with any work.
During the public hearing, Ms. Hazelton noted administration had not received any letters in favour of the development and received one letter in opposition listing additional traffic and noise among the concerns of the proposed development.
Ms. Hazelton added, if the development is not approved, the land can be rezoned back to Agriculture District if requested by the landowner.
Second and third readings were unanimously approved by Kneehill County council.