Council raises mild stink with Champion Petfoods

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – There were no Valentine’s Day cards exchanged between Champion Petfoods and the Town of Morinville Feb. 14, but the relationship between the local manufacturer and Council didn’t seem particularly strained after Council voted unanimously in favour of pursuing a compliance agreement with Champion to resolve the outstanding odour issue.

In presenting the request for decision, Interim CAO Debbie Oyarzun said the compliance agreement is one of mutual understanding between the two parties with respect to time lines, and that Champion is participating in the process.
“The intent is to work cooperatively here,” Oyarzun said, noting the ultimate goal is to achieve odour mitigation within the community.

Although the compliance agreement is currently being negotiated between the Town of Morinville and Champion Petfoods, Mayor Lloyd Bertschi said any potential consequences will exceed those in the Community Standards Bylaw. Champion was fined once in 2011 under the new bylaw; however, the maximum fine is $600 for third and subsequent offences.

“It is very clearly going to lay out the consequences beyond the $300 fine or the $500 fine,” the mayor said Tuesday night.
But just what the compliance agreement between the Town and Champion may contain is unlikely to be made public due to the legal document being protected by FOIP legislation. The mayor said some general information on the agreement may be made public with the actual compliance agreement delving into greater detail on Champion’s proprietary systems and information.

Mayor Bertschi and Councillor Nicole Boutestein recently met with Champion Petfoods President and CAO Frank Burdzy and some of his technical advisors to get a better understanding of the problems confronting Champion as it continues its conversion to a commercial kitchen process. Bertschi said in his discussions with Champion they have identified a number of changes that need to be made to improve things. “There are a number of things that are going to be done over the next three months or so,” Bertschi said, adding Champion is working with their technology suppliers to implement changed processes and modifications. “The good thing is these are incremental steps, so as they do one thing out there the odour severity may come down. It’s not like you are putting in these scrubbers or plasma injectors and you just throw a switch. It’s a whole bunch of numbers and things. We should see a gradual improvement over a period of time, and the final solution soon.”

Champion’s last request for an extension targeted the odour reduction project being completed in the spring of 2012. Whether or not this target will be extended or held to in the compliance agreement will be determined in the negotiations between the Town and Champion.

Council had previously rescinded a $60,000 tax break to be broken over five years due to Champion’s having not met previous completion targets.

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9 Comments

  1. I am not so sure that foip would apply in this case. Foip was meant to protect individuals, and so public agreements made by our public bodies should be subject to information requests.

    Time keeps ticking away, spring draws closer and I still get hit with the stink that is the plant. Part of the issue here is that one can only make bylaw complaints while a bylaw person is on duty. Therefore off duty times we are left with no recourse.

    Lets hope that this compliance agreement has some real teeth or penalties such as future business licenses or the like.

    thanks Morinville news for keeping us in the loop. Once an agreement is met we can launch a foip request to see which of our councilmembers truly support our healthy active and what should be an outdoor community.

  2. I don’t care what’s in the agreement. I only care that they FINALLY get the problem solved and stop making me feel like puking every single time I smell them.

  3. I live far too close to the dog food plant and I for one, am so fed up. I can’t entertain outside, there are days I need to leave my house because the smell creeps in. I think it is time for the town to hold BIG BUSINESS accountable. I find it funny that the town is cracking down on work at home Moms for a business permit yet; Champion gets a minor slap on the wrist. I am all for having this business in our town, it employs a number of local people; I vote people having jobs.I am however concerned about the odour, the inability to entertain on my back or front porch and the fact that on bad days, we make a run for it to the car. If anyone feels it is the cost of doing business in our town, I would happily invite you over for a glass of wine, on my deck; on mass production day. You won’t last and there is a reason 7 residents of our cul-de-sac commuity can’t sell their homes!
    My 14 year old started a facebook page; Join us! http://www.facebook.com/groups/214901988526157/?ref=ts

  4. Kick them out already. Why does a Town of 8000 have to be hostage to a dog food plant that probably employees around 80 locals at a crappy wage.

    This is a Multi-Million Dollar Company that has no interest in the residence of this Town. It’s track record speaks for itself.

    I think it would be only fair to return their “Product” after it comes out of my dog. The whole town should get together and dump a whole pile of dog crap at their entrance…wait, that would probably be illegal, yet they can go on and ruin my quality of life legally.

    In the meantime I will bask in the ambience of dog food with everyone else, complain to all our family and friends how much of a mistake it was to move here ONLY because of the smell. The word get’s spread..

    When all is said and done, the Town of Morinville has probably lost more tax money than what Champion gives….just from the the reputation this community gets from the smell. This Town would probably have 2000 more people in it.

  5. Why would any industry or commercial entity want to setup shop in Morinville? Pack it up Champion and come to Edmonton where we appreciate local jobs and economic development.

  6. Thats’s some big talk ComeToEdmonton from someone who doesn’t have to live with the absolutely horrendous smells coming out of the dog food plant. Morinville residents are all for local jobs and economic development but only if it’s not a detriment to our town and quite likely our health. IF Champion would just find a solution to the odour problem then people would stop complaining. The smell emanating from that factory, and the foot-dragging and mystery surrounding a solution, are the only things we don’t like.

  7. Im done with playing nice – its time for some tough love here Morinville… I have been trying to sell my home, and every time I have somene who is interested, the leave because of the smell… I HATE YOU CHAMPION FOODS. I HATE THAT I CANT SIT ON MY PATIO ON A WARM DAY AND ENJOY MY TOWN. I HATE THAT I CANT HAVE A WINDOW OPEN FOR FRESH AIR BECAUSE THE AIR ISNT FRESH BECAUSE OF YOU… I hate Champion Pet foods.

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