Well, the much promised and highly touted Compliance Agreement with Champion Petfoods never happened! As we sat in the May 8 Regular Meeting of Morinville Town Council we listened to a terse statement carefully delivered by Morinville’s Chief Administrative Officer. You could almost hear the lawyers’ footsteps?
The upshot? The Town and Champion Petfoods were unable to arrive at an agreement to deal with the offensive and foul odours that continue to spew from Champion’s operations.
The new plan? Enforcement. Really? Enforce what? What enforcement mechanisms are now available to the Town Administration and the citizens of Morinville? How well prepared are we?
Some questions that need to be addressed by Town Administration, Champion or Town Council might include:
1. Is five odour units per metre cubed (5ou/m3) still the designated target? Has Champion taken recent odour measurements? How close is Champion to the proposed targets? What would current odour measurements reflect? Who collects and verifies the data?
2. Is Community Standards Bylaw 27/2010 really sufficient to motivate or compel Champion to substantively improve odour mitigation? The penalties for a first, second or third offence are $200, and $400 maxing out at $600. Are these penalties meaningful for a large scale commercial operation?
3. What other bylaws or mechanisms might exist that the Town or citizens would be able to deploy and enforce with effect in dealing with this issue? Will enforcement initiatives be made public? Will citizens be informed if the Director of Planning and Development is enforcing the Land Use Bylaw, Business Licensing Bylaw, Source Control Bylaw or the Community Standards Bylaw?
Town Administration and Council have acted in good faith in the hopes that Champion would resolve this persistent odour issue so that citizens, jobs and industry could happily coexist. Champion’s promises, timelines and constantly wafting deadlines for an odour mitigation solution have been accommodated repeatedly.
The end result is that Morinvillians have been subjected to nostril slapping odours for three years and counting.
Residents have endured deadlines set in sand, concrete and stone. Maybe we need something a little less permeable? How about adamantium?
What happens now? What actionable results should we now expect from Morinville’s CAO, the Director of Planning and Development or our Town Council? Champion contends that they have a good working relationship with the Town and that, “It’s a matter of keeping talking about things.” Sounds like Champion has a plan.
At this late stage do we really believe that the last piece of the odour solution puzzle is higher outlet stacks? Not so much.
Is the smell a problem for you? Are your sinuses in rebellion? Is your quality outdoor time ruined by odours that would gag a gopher? Enough already! What can we do?
Register a bylaw complaint at http://www.morinville.ca/residents/bylaw-enforcement.
May your summer days be graced with sunny days, gentle rains and barbecues, and may the prevailing winds blow away from your step.
P. O’Dea, Morinville