Champion and Town of Morinville come to terms on odour

ChampionStack-web

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – In a joint press release issued Wednesday evening, Champion Petfoods and the Town of Morinville announced they had found some common ground on odour mitigation.

In consideration for Champion staying the course on odour mitigation efforts, the Town will wave $5,400 in tickets Champion has been issued thus far.

“Champion is headed in the right direction on odour mitigation,” said Debbie Oyarzun, Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer in the release. “Champion has agreed to stay the course, and the Town has agreed to stay the previously issued tickets. My belief is that Champion is determined to continue to build on its success to mitigate odour within our community, and we are committed to work with Morinville businesses.”

Champion says it remains committed to continually improving its cooking process and is working together with the Town to align the company’s cooking schedules with community events. Additionally, the company said it is committed to sharing information on odour causes and complaints.

“Champion will work with the Town to endeavour to align cooking schedules with community special events and holidays based on an annual calendar,” said Frank Burdzy, Champion’s President and CEO in an e-mail interview with Morinville News. “In the circumstance of any unscheduled special events which may fall outside the known annual calendar, the Town and Champion will work together to employ best efforts to manage cooking schedules in order to reduce the risk of odour impacting that event.”

Burdzy went on to say the scheduling would take time as Champion schedules months in advance. As a major sponsor of many of Morinville’s community events, Burdzy said Champion was acutely aware of upcoming festivals and want to ensure these events are a huge success.

The Morinville manufacturer has implemented a number of systems and improvements since June of 2010 when it first installed a $500,000 plasma injector that was supposed to neutralize the cooking odours. Since that time, the company has converted from what was a feedlot to a modern commercial kitchen operation. The most recent odour mitigation addition was a new high tech emissions chimney that was installed last June.

Burdzy said the company is pleased with the results thus far. “We’re satisfied most of the time and will continue to be relentless in mitigating odour,” he said. “We have spent millions reducing the intensity, frequency, and duration of odour. We have invested in a new high-tech chimney, oven upgrades, and a complete refurbishing of our internal air-flow system.”

The Champion president went on to say they know odour levels may be more intense under weather and wind conditions; however, they committed to have the intensity, frequency, and duration less than in the past. “We continue to employ the services of global odour management experts to enhance our mitigation processes,” Burdzy said.

The agreement to stay the previous $5,400 in fines in exchange for Champion staying the course on dealing with odour does not restrict the Town of Morinville’s ability to take future action or Champion’s ability to defend those actions.

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13 Comments

  1. So, if I promise to continue to watch my speedometer will you rescind my speeding ticket?
    If I am more diligent in shoveling my walk, can I get my fine money back?

  2. Dear Editor,

    While my sense of smell appreciates the efforts that Champion has made, the bottom line is that they broke the Town’s by-laws, and I agree with Joe that they should be made to pay.

    Would we reward a home owner who, after receiving over $5,000 in tickets, finally cuts their lawn or shovels their sidewalk? Not a chance. So why should Champion get a break? If it was going to drive the company out of business, maybe, but $5,000 is a campaign donation to them.

    On that note, I would like to know who made the decision to waive the fines. If Town Council voted to waive the fines (it wasn’t mentioned in Council Briefs) did Councillor Fingler exclude himself as a result of the campaign donation he received from Champion? Or was it someone in the Town’s administrative branch made the decision? From the article, I almost got the idea that the CAO may have made the decision. I think that the Town Council should be the only one to waive fees of this magnitude. I think the townspeople and taxpayers should know who made this decision.

    Letting large companies out of fines sets a horrible precedence that could come back to bite the Town later on.

  3. I agree with Brent’s comments! Everyone in Morinville should know WHO waived the fines. If a by-law has to be voted in by the Council, then any fines associated to that by-law should not be allowed to be waived by a Town employee without specific approval of council.

  4. I also agree with Brent,, what a joke the tax payers cannot enjoy going out side lots of days because of the stink this plant makes ,, they break the law set out for all of us and then someone decides to wave the Fines ,, its not right ,, council should be the only ones to decide to wave fines,, mabe we need better Mayor with better leadership

  5. Council has let the residents down. Our council had to know about this, yet they failed to act in the best interests of their constituents. Perhaps people should fore-go paying the raise in their taxes this year. The penalty the town imposes should be no more than what was imposed with Champion Pet Foods, right?

  6. Finally, some common sense prevails! Morinville Council did the right thing. I am sure that over the last few years, many mid to large sized companies might have been researching various towns and areas on the outskirts of Edmonton to perhaps build plants or factories. I am also sure that these potential customers have been following the on-going saga of Champion and the odour debate (watching the way that petty complaints about the smell coming from Champion caused such an uproar) Bottom line, we now have the potential to have businesses come to Morinville and open their doors and above all, PAY TAXES. This will help out the local population, many of whom are retired / on fixed incomes who are paying taxes through the nose because we, in Morinville, do not have a great business / residential tax base. I think I saw somewhere that we have less than 10% of taxes coming from business and the rest is residiential. That is why my taxes have DOUBLED in the last 11 years since I moved to Morinville. With the big story being the development of major stores on the north end of St Albert, it is only a matter of time until companines start searching out Morinville sites to build on. We should be as business friendly as possible to entice these companies here to Morinville. Yes, please print the names of Council who voted for this, I will definitely be voting for them again!

    • Will, there are no names to print as to who voted for or against it. The waving of fees was an in camera discussion under the Municipal Government Act and Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection act regulations. The CAO acted on Council and the municipality’s behalf on the advisement of legal council. We will have either an addendum to this story or a separate article linked back to the original as soon as possible.

  7. I would say to Will that no new businesses will open their doors if all their customers will smell is cooking dog food! I’m not sure where he lives, but from where I live (not in South Glens), the smell is almost over-powering some days. Ever sat on the patio at Coach’s Corner on a bad dog food day? How much business do they lose because of it? This is not a “petty” complaint.

    There are two different issues here, as there is a huge difference between paying TAXES, that all companies and homeowners pay, and FINES, which are only paid (sometimes) by those who violate town bylaws. I bet most of the businesses in town have never seen the bylaw officers as they follow the rules.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being business-friendly and would love to have a bigger industrial base to draw upon for taxes. But I’m not in favour of forgiving fines that were assessed under town bylaws. This now opens the door for everyone to say “If you let Champion not pay their fines, why should I?” There is nothing more detrimental to maintain law and order than creating a bylaw that there is no willingness to enforce. Either enforce them or strike them from the books.

  8. There are more than two issues here.

    Council going in camera does not exempt Council from voting in public. Secondly, the FOIP act does not exempt a public discussion to waive a public fine.

    FOIP ACT

    I look forward to each member of Council’s public explanation of how they voted on this public topic ASAP.

    As to the fine issue, Council feels Champion doesn’t owe me $0.75 compensation for the multiple, and frequent odour bylaw infractions? really??

  9. I have lived here now for two years and still Today I have no idea who is on council or who our Mayor is Hmm , I guess I will find out when it becomes Election Time and can anyone tell me when that will be.

    Thank-You

    • Oct. 21, 2013. All Candidates Forum will be held at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Oct. 14, 2013 at 7 p.m. – brought to you by The Morinville News. We bring those sorts of things to town along with information on who Mayor and Council is. We do that more frequently, at least once every two weeks when we cover Town Council meetings.

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