Chemainus odour debate gets heated in North Cowichan

Coun. Kate Marsh said she “feels sad” that the debate had come to this point.

A letter from the province in response to an ongoing odour issue in North Cowichan led to lively debate in the municipality’s council chambers on March 7.

Environment and Climate Change Minister George Heyman was responding to council’s concerns with the odours allegedly coming from Coast Environmental Ltd., a waste and compost treatment facility in Chemainus.

Heyman said in the letter that odour management and associated controls are included in a review currently underway as part of Coast Environmental’s application for the new Organic Matter Recycling Regulation permit from his ministry.


The facility is located in North Cowichan, but jurisdiction for its operations is shared among a number of authorities, with no clear guidelines on which authority is directly responsible to deal with excessive odours, or even what constitutes excessive odours.

While Coast Environmental’s operation is located in North Cowichan, which issues it an annual business licence to operate, the Cowichan Valley Regional District is responsible for issuing its recycler licence and the Ministry of Environment issues the permit for the facility to compost soil.

But Coun. Joyce Behnsen said she believes North Cowichan could be having more of an influence in dealing with the issue than it is exercising.

“More work can be done at this level (of government) and we shouldn’t just be handing this up to the province to deal with,” she said.

Behnsen said that North Cowichan Mayor Lefebure, who is also chairman of the CVRD, should be doing more to deal with the issue.

“The smell is making people sick and ruining the reputation of this community,” she said.

“This has been going on for six years and that’s too long.”

Lefebure said “it’s not that simple” and that “spreading misinformation” is no way to deal with the issue.

“Large improvements have already been made to deal with the odours from the facility,” he said.

Coun. Kate Marsh said she “feels sad” that the debate had come to this point.

“I can’t believe a councillor here is saying that nothing is being done,” she said.

“We have this letter from the minister and I don’t want the public thinking that North Cowichan and the CVRD are doing nothing. You can say your opinion at this table, but it has to be based on facts.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

South Island travel book a best seller

Areas of the Cowichan Valley covered

Elders Gathering in Cowichan Valley needs volunteers

Upwards of 5,000 participants expended to attend

Cowichan school district takes prize for trades training

The award includes $5,000 in additional funding

VIDEO: Colin James Blues Trio will play to a sold out house in Duncan

He’s always popular when he comes to the Cowichan Valley.

Seedy Sunday is packing ‘em in at Siem Lelum Gym. Why not join the fun?

Seeds, plants, and good advice: there’s lots for everyone.

UPDATED: Brake failure sees plane crash into gate; nobody injured

Rescue crews headed to the scene at Stamps and Henderson Roads.

Coming up in Cowichan: Public speaking, water, food preservation

The Justice for the Peace Island tour is stopping in Duncan on Wednesday, March 21.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.’s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a special laboratory

Federal committee to examine human trafficking in Canada

The Commons committee plans on holding hearings in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Most Read