September 26th, 2018

Big day for two big projects

By Collin Gallant on June 5, 2018.

NEWS PHOTO COLLIN GALLANT
A worker climbs atop a data processing unit a the Hut 8 Cryptomining Facility located off Box Springs Road on Monday, June 4, 2018. Officials say the 11-acre site is scheduled to have power hooked up sometime on Tuesday, marking a milestone for the energy-intensive project.


cgallant@medicinehatnews.com
@CollinGallant

Two major industrial projects in Medicine Hat will hit milestones today.

One will be accomplished by lineworkers from the city power utility. The other will be debated in an unusual Tuesday meeting of city council.

The Hut 8 data processing facility on Box Springs road is expected to have power connected to its site in place sometime on Tuesday.

Tonight, city council is expected to hear a proposed zoning change that would allow construction of the Aurora Cannabis facility to get underway.

Those two represent back-to-back major announcements this winter from Medicine Hat’s city council.

The Hut 8 interconnection at the city’s new power plant was originally scheduled to take place Monday

“It looks like we’re a day off,” Hut 8 chief executive officer Andrew Kiguel told the News on Monday.

“We will have 18 black boxes up and running this month. Everything is progressing well, and anyone can see that on the ground, we’re working very hard.”

Grading and other work began in early May at the site located off Bow Springs Road, just prior to a public announcement that the city had signed a lease for the 11-acre site and a major power supply agreement for 42 megawatts of power. That will come in directly from lines at the city’s six-month-old Unit 16 power plant, which is adjacent.

The enterprise consists of “black boxes” the size of shipping containers with enough computing power to consume 1 megawatt of power each, searching out and solving transactions of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.

The company is scheduled to accept delivery on 16 of the units by the end of June, then another 24 by the end of September.

A road access to the site, south of the Medicine Hat Rifle and Revolver Club, and west of the Medicine Hat Speedway, was also being paved Monday.

Further south, surveyors were on scene in the Box Springs Business Park Monday, marking utility lines on Box Springs Street, though no permit has yet been issued for the massive Aurora Sun cannabis manufacturing facility.

The municipal planning commission heard last month that since medical and recreational cannabis production facilities are so new, the current city’s land-use bylaw doesn’t permit them.

They propose creating a “direct-control” zone for council to approve use on the 72-acre site, and are expected to include a schedule of regulations at tonight’s meeting.

That matter, including a public hearing, will be held when the issue is taken up in a regular meeting of council held on Tuesday to account for members travelling back from a municipalities conference in Halifax.

Aurora Cannabis officials told the News Monday they are adhering to the local processes, and final closing of the current conditional purchase of the land work should proceed very quickly.

The Aurora Sky Facility would involve an initial 1.2 million square-foot growing, production and packaging facility for medical cannabis. A further 300,000 square-foot expansion could be built to the east.

Survey stakes at the site also mark an extension of Box Springs Way, a north-south road that would be the eventual access to the plant. That will be built by the park’s developer, the Box Springs Business Park, the News has been told.

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