Plasco deal could be revisited: former MP

Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 12:35 pm | Victoria Paterson

A former member of parliament for the Red Deer area said the defunct Plasco deal could be revisited in the future.

“We just got to get enough people saying ‘We want it,’” said Bob Mills during a presentation to the Innisfail Rotary Club. “It could always be revisited.”

Mills has been a local booster for the Plasco project since the beginnings of the project. Mills now works for Plasco Energy Group in China but said he has never worked as a paid consultant in Canada.

The deal with Plasco was shelved after the Central Waste Management Commission announced in February that it had concluded it didn’t have enough garbage to meet the minimum supply requirements for the plant.

The Plasco system would have converted solid waste into energy by blasting the garbage with a plasma torch. Mills said the process would have created other recyclables as well, including sulphur for fertilizer, potable water and more. According to Mills, 95 per cent of the garbage is turned into recyclable materials.

“I could have cried,” Mills said of the deal falling through. “I just feel this was a huge opportunity.”

Mills, who said he’s now known in some places as “Garbage Bob,” said Plasco is building a manufacturing plant in Ontario and the group will be looking for sites.

“Alberta is a prime spot,” Mills said. “This is an ideal place.”

Many of the municipalities in the commission, like Innisfail, Red Deer County and Bowden, were fully behind the project, Mills said. He said the issue was the City of Red Deer only committing 10 per cent of its garbage, though he added that was what the city said it directly controlled.

If someone in Red Deer had taken leadership for the project, “it would have happened,” Mills said.

“I just can’t believe we don’t have enough garbage,” Mills said.

The Red Deer County area plant would have been the first commercial plant for Plasco Energy Group.

Mills said the commitments from the municipalities would have been land for the plant in a place where power could be put into the grid and 100,000 tonnes of garbage a year.

“What a municipality has to do is guarantee 20 years of garbage,” Mills said.

The tipping fee per tonne for the local plant would have been $66, something that favourably compares to other areas where the cost is over $100 a tonne, Mills said.

“Sixty-six dollars is a pretty good deal,” Mills said. He added while private money would have built the plant, after 20 years it would have been owned by the commission.

Since the initial moves towards a deal a few years ago, Plasco has started the process to build plants internationally.

“The thing has just exploded,” Mills said.

Mills said the City of Red Deer could be looking for a new landfill in about 10 years.

“I hope everybody remembers the opportunity they missed,” Mills said.

Mills said he’s been vocal about his support for Plasco and his opinion on the deal falling through.

“The city is extremely mad at me,” he said.

According to Mills, the Plasco plants have no discernable emissions. He said in Paris there are plans for a plant with a museum on top of it while in Britain they’re considering putting them on mall sites.

“There’s no noise, there’s no smell, there’s no emissions,” Mills said.


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