Mount Currie seeks injunction against Terrane 

Band claims chicken manure a health issue

The Mount Currie Band is seeking an end to Terrane Development’s practice of mixing chicken manure and byproducts into its landscape soil.

Terrane Development, a local soil company, is located on Squamish-Lillooet Regional District land adjacent to the Pemberton industrial park and Mount Currie. Members of the Mount Currie community are complaining that the facility’s practice is unacceptable and constitutes both a lifestyle and health issue.

"It’s a very offensive smell," said Martina Pierre, a councillor with the band.

In her address supporting an end to the bylaw infraction, Pierre notes that the band council would share legal costs with the SLRD to ameliorate the problem.

Area C Director Susie Gimse stated that Terrane was in contravention of the SLRD’s land use bylaws and moved a motion to proceed with an injunctive action against the company. Gimse was unable to convince other directors to take immediate action on the issue. Instead, the board deferred the matter for one month to allow fact gathering.

A letter forwarded to the SLRD by band administrator Sheldon Tetreault in December 2005 cited the smell, the safety of potential run-off water and the threat of Avian Flu, as concerns. Tetreault’s letter concluded with a call to action by the SLRD.

A report prepared in May 2004, stemming from earlier complaints about the facility, suggested that Terrane was in contravention of SLRD bylaws and that an injunction could be enforced to make them cease and desist. The cost of that action was estimated at $15,000, without contemplated court action to enforce the injunction.

Cam McIvor, president of Terrane Development, responded to the SLRD outlining his concerns and correcting what he saw as inaccuracies in Mount Currie’s letter. In his correspondence, he explained that testing of run-off water in adjacent ditching showed no signs of contamination and the Avian Flu argument held little merit. McIvor also furnished a "letter of comfort" from the B.C. Sustainable Poultry Farming Group, Terrane’s manure supplier, attesting to its product’s safety.

Describing Terrane as an environmental success story, McIvor explained that the smell issue had been rectified through a refinement of their process. He wrote that the blending process now only occurs for two weeks every six months.

He admitted to one significant odour problem that occurred in conjunction with the flood of 2003, when the Rutherford Creek bridge washout put the company in the position of having considerable inventory that could not be moved into the marketplace.

"Since then we’ve had no problem with odour," said McIvor. "And no other neighours have ever complained."

Furthermore, McIvor said he has never received any complaints directly from the Mount Currie Band council.

"We have never received a letter or a cease and desist."

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy expressed a number of concerns that he felt had to be addressed before moving towards an injunction. He made a motion that the issue be deferred pending more information.

"This issue will move into Village of Pemberton’s purview," said the mayor. He explained that Terrane could easily move the manure pile 100 feet and be within the VOP’s jurisdiction.

Further, he didn’t believe that there had been adequate consultation with Terrane. He suggested that perhaps there was a route to a simpler, less costly resolution than a legal injunction.

Director Gimse countered Mayor Sturdy saying that the VOP had had opportunity to address the problem.

"This is not a new issue. The VOP (previous council) has been involved and we stepped back because we thought it was being resolved. Mount Currie has come forward saying their community is being negatively impacted," said Gimse.

Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland supported Sturdy’s motion.

"We have to give every director time to deal with an issue," said Sutherland.

Area B Director Mickey Macri pointed out that the issue had been brought up three times over the past two years and remained unresolved. However, Macri also supported the deferral.

"When the (Terrane) plan came to our meeting we did not see the total plan about what the business was about," said Pierre on behalf of the band. "I know that there are issues that come up with neighbours as far as zoning bylaws extend. I know Mount Currie needs to have an understanding with the SLRD."

The board agreed to a one-month deferral. The matter will be readdressed at the next SLRD directors’ meeting.

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