Benoit Laliberté refuses to dismantle his cryptocurrency facilities in Montérégie

The Commission, after weighing all the criteria, considers that this request should be rejectedcan we read in a preliminary orientation recently published.

According to the documents, the entrepreneur wishes to use the 000BTU d’air chauffé à 55Celsius par heure […] pour chauffer quatre serres de culture biologique d’une superficie totale de 1,1hectare”,”text”:”66000BTU d’air chauffé à 55Celsius par heure […] pour chauffer quatre serres de culture biologique d’une superficie totale de 1,1hectare”}}”>66,000 BTUs of heated air at 55 Celsius per hour […] to heat four organic greenhouses with a total area of ​​1.1 hectares in Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, in Montérégie.

The domes were already built there in 2019, without municipal permits or authorization from the CPTAQbut the greenhouses are still not.

The Commission justifies its decision in particular by pointing out that the domes are built on 3 qui sont d’ailleurs parmi les meilleurs sols au Québec”,”text”:”des sols de classe3 qui sont d’ailleurs parmi les meilleurs sols au Québec”}}”>class 3 soils which are also among the best soils in Quebec.

Authorizing the presence of these domes on the lot concerned will contribute to introducing a commercial activity affecting its agricultural vocation in addition to altering the homogeneity of the environment. »

A quote from Excerpt from a decision of the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec, September 19, 2022

In their decision, the vice-president of the Commission, Gilles P. Bonneau, and the commissioner Me Ève-Andrée Charest specify that Mr. Laliberté is silent about the pipes […] used to cool the ambient air of the domes and [quant aux] constraints they may impose on certain agricultural practices, such as drainage or crop irrigation. These pipes represent several thousand linear meters which represent an area that is possibly no longer available for agriculture on the lot in question..

A hearing requested by a lawyer for the contractor Laliberté should take place next February.

The cryptocurrency mining domes built in 2019 in Sainte-Marie-Madeleine

Photo: Ivanoh Demers

In 2019, the Administrative Tribunal of Quebec (TAQ) ordered the removal of the four gigantic domes in Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, ruling that – contrary to the promoter’s arguments – they were intended more to mine cryptocurrencies than to produce heat to heat tomato greenhouses.

Since that date, Benoit Laliberté has tried in vain to contest this judgment in the Court of Quebec, in the Superior Court, in the Court of Appeal as well as in the Supreme Court, which refused last May to hear this case.

Benoît Laliberté intends to move forward

By email, Benoit Laliberté explains that he has no intention of demolishing his cryptocurrency facilities.

As indicated, this is indeed a simple preliminary orientation […]. [En] time and place, we will have the chance to interact with the commissioners and, hopefully, [de] achieve the authorization sought by presenting facts and tangible evidence in connection with the request.

We fully intend to persevere in implementing our business plan despite the pitfalls we are currently experiencing with the CPTAQ. »

A quote from Benoit Laliberte

At the Municipality, we feel a certain exasperation to be presented with a fait accompli.

For us, these cryptocurrency trading activities are not acceptable agricultural activities.explains the director general of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, Me Josée Vendette.

We feel a lack of understanding from citizens to see the disrespect [envers le] agricultural sector, there is frustrationshe adds.

Less crypto in Hydro’s plans

Cryptocurrency has been in the news lately due not only to sharp fluctuations in its value but also Hydro-Quebec’s intention to suspend the allocation of electricity to the blockchain sector.

Hydro wants to focus on other uses to ensure the growth in demand anticipated over the next ten years.

A decree has been filed by the government with the Régie de l’énergie.

Computer devices.

Cryptocurrency installations consume a lot of electricity and generate heat.

Photo: Ivanoh Demers

This decision has no impact on projects already in operationexplains by email the director general of the Cooperative regional electricity of Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Rouville, Damien M. Tholomier.

The Cooperative notably supplies the cryptocurrency domes in Sainte-Marie-Madeleine.

Tholomier. Un membre sera desservi et restera membre de la Coopérative si il ou elle respecte les règlements de régie interne et les conditions de services.”,”text”:”L’électricité étant un service essentiel, nous avons l’obligation de desservir tout membre nous demandant de le raccorder au réseau électrique de la Coopérative, ajoute M.Tholomier. Un membre sera desservi et restera membre de la Coopérative si il ou elle respecte les règlements de régie interne et les conditions de services.”}}”>Since electricity is an essential service, we have an obligation to serve any member who asks us to connect them to the Cooperative’s electrical network, adds Mr. Tholomier. A member will be served and will remain a member of the Cooperative if he or she respects the rules of internal management and the conditions of service.

Benoit Laliberté testified in 2018 before the Régie de l’énergie during hearings on the electricity rates to be imposed on blockchain and cryptocurrency players.

In the opinion of Mr. Laliberté, MW de Sainte-Marie-Madeleine sont des droits acquis à perpétuité”,”text”:”pour le moment, les 12,3MW de Sainte-Marie-Madeleine sont des droits acquis à perpétuité”}}”>for the moment, the 12.3 MW of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine are acquired rights in perpetuity.

Trouble with the law

Benoit Laliberté is a native entrepreneur from Mont-Saint-Hilaire who made headlines in the 2000s for manipulation of securities and insider trading in the Jitec file.

Convicted of 41 securities law violations, he had to pay fines totaling nearly $1 million after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his case.

In 2004, Mr. Laliberté created Teliphone Corp., a telecommunications company that offers telephone services and computer solutions for data management.

The daily The Press reported this week that telecommunications companies linked to Benoit Laliberté were facing tax charges.

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