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.

RELATED STORY: ENVIRONMENT MINISTER RESPONDS TO ODOUR CONCERNS

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.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Robert Barron column: Goodbye to the best man I’ve ever known

Mondays were special because my dad was off on those days

VIDEO: Young QMS cast shines in ‘Giants in the Sky’ musical

Kids find that sometimes being brave is good, but you still need supportive friends

Andrea Rondeau column: The internet has changed how we cover breaking news

If there’s ever anything you think we’ve missed, please feel free to contact us and let us know.

Sarah Simpson column: My history with bees

My dad is allergic to bees.

Strong showing for host school at Shawnigan Regatta

Shawnigan second in overall aggregate, tops U17 girls standings

Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

A look at the Kinder Morgan expansion, decades in the making

B.C. VIEWS: Our poverty reduction plan is already in place

NDP has another promise it needs to appear to keep

WestJet pilot strike averted as parties agree to mediation

Pilots had warned they could go on strike starting May 19

Out of control wildfire prompts restriction around Allie Lake

One of the first large wildfires of the 2018 season is blazing out of control

Passersby help rescue occupants of home as fire breaks out in Courtenay

Coffee run turns into fire rescue for pair of men

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

Most Read