The highlights of the holiday season included the launch of the new ZooShare bonds and starting the planning process for our biggest year yet!
6% and 5% bonds were offered first to the Waiting List, and then to the general public. The pent-up demand led to the 6% bonds selling out in 7 days, and over $250,000 in 5% bond sales in the first month of availability. After selecting a technology partner in late October, we have started planning for construction of the biogas plant this Spring(!), while also working on plans for marketing & sales, digestate management and transportation. We also continued our discussions with numerous waste producers and haulers regarding our feedstock needs as we look to resolve the remaining issues and sign a long-term contract.
Bond Sales & Revised Offering Statement
In November, ZooShare received approval from FSCO to begin selling Community Bonds again. We had a limited number of 6% bonds available, and as stated above, they sold out quickly. The 5% bonds, which are fully protected against construction risk, went on sale in early December. To date, we have sold $252,100 5% bonds, which are currently sitting in an escrow account awaiting the completion of construction. We feel confident that our biggest driver of bond sales this year will be our progress building the project. That being said, we spent a fair amount of time during December planning our marketing and sales activities for the year to best ensure our success with this new offering. This effort is being led by our Communications Manager, Frances Darwin, who was brought back full-time and extended for another year.
If you would like to invest in the latest bond offering, please fill out the form here (if you you a ZooShare member, make sure to check the “Yes, I’ve paid my ZooShare membership fee” box).
Discussions continue with our grocery partner to resolve the remaining issues standing in the way of us signing a long term agreement, namely, how to remove the packaging from the available organics. We are also engaged with other waste producers and haulers, in order to secure alternatives should our grocery partner be unable to supply the full amount of waste required. As stated previously, this is not how we imagined this process unfolding, however our confidence that we will be able to get what we need in fuel remains strong. This is due to our locational advantage, made more valuable by impending limits on carbon emissions from transportation, the Province’s recent announcement of new waste management regulations that would ban organics from landfills, and the potential PR value of working with a local non-profit associated with the Zoo. We will continue working on all fronts and look forward to resolving this challenge in the coming months, prior to starting construction.
Design and Construction
Since selecting Bioferm Viessman as our technology supplier in late October, the two organizations have been engaged in planning, procurement and negotiations. A transportation plan covering the construction and operations phases has been prepared and submitted to the Zoo (special thanks to ZooShare member, ND, for the help). A preliminary design and construction schedule was prepared by Bioferm, with a planned construction start date in May and a Commercial Operation Date of January 1, 2017. Working backwards from these days, the 30% project design and budget is to be finalized by the end of this month, allowing us to sign a binding turnkey construction contract, finalize the loan amount to be received from Bioferm and submit the designs to the Zoo for approval. We will also be applying for building permits from the City of Toronto and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) at this time. Staff from both organizations have already been contacted to ensure a smooth approval process.