The issue of approval for a controversial biodigester in Foothills County is going to mediation.

Benita Estes, who's led opposition to the project from the start, says mediation is just another step in the process, but the arguments don't change.

"In our minds, as a group, it's an industrial project, it's a gas producing industrial project and it does not belong within 200 metres of people's homes, it does not belong on agricultural land, period," she says.

Alberta Environment and Protected Areas gave Tidewater Renewables approval to build and operate the facility in December.

Estes doesn't expect anything will be mediated but it gives the appearance that the two groups are willing to sit down and discuss issues.

She says one major issue is the lack of any kind of emergency plan if something goes wrong.

"If they have an incident over there, they will most likely need to have access to my property and to be able to wake me up at any point in time, let's says 2:00 o'clock in the morning because they've got something going on over there and I have to evacuate my home and somehow get myself and my animals to who knows where, how is that acceptable?"

Mediation is set for May 15 and 30.

This is one of many signs posted by neighbours to Rimrock. This is kittycorner to Rimrock Feeders) (Feb. 24, 2024)This is one of many signs posted by rural neighbours of Rimrock. This is kitty-corner to Rimrock Feeders) (Feb. 24, 2024)

In the meantime, she says they're ramping up fundraising so they can pay for their own industry experts to make presentations on their behalf.

They will use the collection and processing of waste or recyclables to produce fuel and the associated power plant.