Champion Petfoods behind recent Morinville phone survey

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Champion Petfoods announced Wednesday it was behind a recent telephone survey of Morinville residents asking questions on local issues and concerns as well as levels of trust in current Council, business leaders and the media.

Champion’s President and CEO Frank Burdzy told Morinville News one of the reasons was to gauge where the company should be investing their community dollars.

“We’re currently receiving in the neighbourhood of 10 to 12 requests per month for donations to some charitable fund or event, and what we really want to do at Champion, as an organization, is focus more of our giving to core causes that are of keen interest to the residents,” Burdzy said. “We weren’t doing that before. We were just taking each one as it came.”

Burdzy said some of the questions in the survey, the results of which his company has not yet received, will allow them to get an idea for what things resonate with residents, allowing the company to channel more funding and employee support to those initiatives.

But the intent of the survey was not entirely for altruistic purposes. Burdzy said another purpose was determining public perception on the work they have been doing to address the company’s odour issue. “We’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money on odour mitigation and not just to deal with the odour but to deal with our presence in the community,” he said, adding the company has a desire to be good corporate citizens in all it does. “We want to make sure that we have a gauge for where we are.”

The company president said the third reason was a desire to keep in tune with the current thinking on issues that are top of mind with town residents.

Burdzy said survey questions varied from call to call with respect to gaining information on areas where the company might invest community dollars. “There was a list of about 18 or 20 items, everywhere from library, school, a number of them,” he said, adding the questions were rotated through the process so not every participant received exactly the same questions.

He said the company would look at and rank the responses to key interest areas. “If business development is a key issue, then obviously we want to participate more and be encouraging more business development and growth in Morinville.”

[SUBHEAD]Denies any intent to mislead

Beyond hot button questions on local issues, including photo radar, the odour problem in town, and the proposed Cardiff overpass, survey participants found questions related to the current municipal by-election and a direct question about who the participant planned to vote for.

Burdzy said asking those questions was not an intent to mislead but to get unbiased answers to the questions of interest.

“We were keenly interested in finding out a couple things relative to Champion Petfoods in relation to the community, and we approached pollsters to do this because we wanted to have it unbiased and independent,” he said. “The advice they gave us is it has to be mixed in with something else that is current and relevant to the community in order for the unbiased nature to be present.”

The consultant’s recommendation was to build the survey around elections, something the ROI Research Inc., the firm Champion employed, does on a national and provincial level.

“It worked well for them because they could wrap it up using some standard election polling questions they would use in any other poll that might be out there,” Burdzy said.

The company will not be making the results of the survey public.

[SUBHEAD]Progress may not be visible

One of the purposes of the poll was to gauge feedback on the company’s odour mitigation efforts.

Earlier this summer, Champion installed a high-tech chimney atop their Kitchen 2. In answer to concerns the stack is not operational, Burdzy said the unit is very much running and running efficiently.

“It’s been designed to not only emit the steam but to cool it while it’s travelling to the surface, to the top,” he explained. “Why people may not see steam coming out there at this time of year is because the steam is coming out at about the same temperature as the ambient temperature outside. It’s not converting to steam. It’s coming out the top and it’s not evident.”

The CEO said residents will likely see steam rising from the stack as temperatures drop this fall and winter.

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8 Comments

  1. I would be interested to learn what residents had to say about the odour problem. I, nor anyone I have spoken too about it, has noticed one bit of difference since the higher stack has been in place. Stench is still stench and it is as bad as ever. We could smell it last week in our house even with every door and window closed up tight. Any idea what the survey revealed in this regard?

    • As indicated in our story, Champion has not received the results of the survey as of our interview today and will not be making those results public when they are available.

  2. Living near the High School, I haven’t smelt anything from them in the past month.

  3. I have to say, while I can still occasionally smell Champion it has greatly improved from before. I don’t smell it every day nor is the smell as strong as before. I think they are taking steps in the right direction and hopefully they can find a way to get rid of the last bit of sometimes stinky air.

  4. I smell it any time the wind is blowing in my direction while the “chefs” are at work.

    I wouldn’t credit Champion for when we are lucky enough to have the wind blowing it away from us.

    Though I do find the thought humorous that there is some unsuspecting Alberta communities around us that probably get a foul, horrid odour wafting down their streets from time to time and they have no idea what it is, or where it comes from.

    I suppose we were all in that position when Champion first started their ovens…..

  5. When the winds are ‘right’ the smell is still obnoxious and unacceptable out our way…Cardiff Echoes. Last week in the park it was almost gagging.

    Several evenings I have smelled it but it hasn’t lasted that long & I can accept that. But I am committted that when it is ‘unbearable’ I will be lodging a formal complaint.

    I would suggest for anyone who continues to find the current solution unacceptable that they too make their views known via a formal complaint

  6. Survey is simply deflection, deflection, deflection, of the real problem which is the continued disgusting odour from Champion Foods on an ongoing basis. The residents of Morinville and surrounding area are still suffering from not being able to enjoy their own residence. (can’t plan a deck party, can’t enjoy being outside or opening your windows to enjoy fresh air, and try selling your home to a prospective buyer the day the wind is blowing in your direction, etc.) I, my family and some of the other residents of Cardiff refuse to do business in the town of Morinville when the Champion Pet Foods rotten smell is prevalent. I simply drive the less than 10 minutes to St.Albert and purchase my groceries, etc. there. I’m sure some of the businesses in Morinville don’t realize this. Perhaps Champion Pet Foods could best spend their confidential survey money and any donations towards rectifying this still present stench.

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