More questions than answers after public hearing on proposed Sackville slaughterhouse

Planner Lori Bickford

Monday’s public hearing on the proposal to open a slaughterhouse in the Sackville Industrial Park yielded no information on the cost and financing of the project, the numbers of animals that would be killed there or the volume of truck traffic that would be required to transport animals to the site and to haul away their waste products.

Chris Pierce, the local farmer who wants to open the slaughterhouse at 72 Crescent Street, did not appear during the online public hearing.

Instead town council heard a presentation from Lori Bickford, planning manager/planner with the Southeast Regional Service Commission.

“They are proposing to process cattle, sheep and swine at the property, approximately 15 head of cattle a week to give a general idea of size,” Bickford said. However, she did not provide numbers on the slaughter of sheep and pigs.

“As well, wastes such as hides and bones would be removed daily to an approved location or a licensed composting or disposal site,” she added, “and any of the blood from the kill area would be going into an underground holding tank on site which would be transferred off at a later date.”

However, Bickford did not say whether the proponent has found an approved location or licensed composting or disposal site for these animal wastes.

She told council that the slaughterhouse would need licenses from the provincial departments of agriculture and health which regulate issues such as smell, waste disposal and food safety.

Bickford added that federal regulations governing the transfer of waste products from the site would also apply.

Bickford told council the nearest house is just over 100 metres (328 feet) from the proposed abattoir while other houses are more than 190 metres (623 feet) away.

She said the Southeast Planning Review and Adjustment Committee is recommending that Sackville change its municipal plan and zoning bylaw to permit abattoirs in special intensive use zones within industrial areas.

Council heard only two objections to the proposed slaughterhouse, although Deputy Mayor Ron Aiken said he had received two e-mails opposing it that he would circulate to his colleagues.

Les and Faye Hicks wrote to express strong opposition based on “the poor working conditions and long term psychological damage to slaughterhouse workers that have been documented, as well as the potential health and environmental concerns related to the slaughterhouse industry”.

Jean-Pascal Lavoie expressed concerns about the municipality’s ability to enforce sanitary regulations.

“The proximity to residential areas remains within too close of a margin to reassure us,” he added.

Deputy Mayor Aiken said other members of the public who wish to comment on the proposal should get in touch with him, CAO Jamie Burke or Town Clerk Donna Beal.

For previous coverage that questions the economic viability of the project, click here.

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4 Responses to More questions than answers after public hearing on proposed Sackville slaughterhouse

  1. Kata List Productions says:

    Will we be able to purchase this locally slaughtered meat product at either of our local grocery stores? If so, that’s truly buying local folks.. and it’s what all of your sustainable gurus advocates have been yammering about for the 10 years that I have lived here.. thanks Lori for the explanations….. nevermind a few complainers… they are always gonna find something to bitch about. Local entrepreneurs are welcome here in .. that has GOT to be the message in 2020.

    • As a local hospitality entrepreneur who has already spent two years and considerable amounts of money on restoring a heritage property near this location, I’d like to feel welcome too – and for my guests to feel welcome, instead of feeling nauseated by the smell of an abattoir. I have no issues with this business, but the location is totally inappropriate.

      • Kata List Productions says:

        Unfortunate selection for your business because INDUSTRY in an industrial park is always appropriate. Do not try to block progress Andrew. The NIMBY attitude is fine if your property was in a residential area but this is an industrial park that is TRYING to develop and grow. Perhaps you should have spent more time planning more carefully where you located your accommodations instead of trying to change the definition of industry because you might find it smells. I don’t recall seeing any advertised inns or hotels in the area – are you running an airbnb type arrangement…?

  2. Les Hicks says:

    Thanks Bruce for your report on the public hearing on the proposal last Monday evening. I find it troubling that no firm figures on the number of various species of animals that are planned to be slaughtered each week have been presented to Council or town residents. In a previous Wark Times article (Sept 11th), land owner Richard Baughan stated that “one or two cattle would be killed there each day”. In the same article Bruce reports that Chris Pierce told CHMA that his eventual goal would be to handle the same number as the Boudreau abattoir in Memramcook. Mr. Boudreau stated that his facility processes an average of about 50 cattle a week as well as other animals including pigs, lambs, and turkeys. At last Monday’s public hearing Lori Bickford stated that “They are proposing to process cattle, sheep, and swine at the property, approximately 15 head of cattle a week to give a general idea of size”. Bruce notes that she did not provide numbers on the slaughter of sheep or pigs (or other species). Mr. Pierce did not provide any numbers for these other species either. So at this point Sackville residents have no idea of how large an operation this facility might eventually expand to. It is obvious that any increase in the overall number of animals being slaughtered will result in increases in environmental issues with potential runoff and increased load and expense for the Town’s waste-water treatment facility, and an increase in odour issues for residential areas of the town.

    Finally, the other concern I have is that the Town might be stuck with cleanup costs in the event of this project failing after being in operation for some time. One only has to look at the huge issue of abandoned well sites in Alberta for which the provincial and federal taxpayers are paying the very expensive clean-up costs because the owners of the well sites were allowed to walk away from them. I realize the scale of this clean-up problem is much larger than would be required for this slaughterhouse, but it is the principal that concerns me. We are all aware that this sort of issue can come up after witnessing the Sackville, Provincial, and Federal taxpayers being stuck with the cost of cleaning up land that the multinational corporation CN had contaminated.

    I would appreciate Sackville Town Council addressing these issues before making any firm decision on this proposal.

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