Topsoil company aims to reduce offensive odours 

SLRD, ministry still reviewing quarry blast

A Pemberton company is taking steps to minimize the smell of chicken manure wafting from its operations to homes and offices in Mount Currie.

Keith Evans, operations manager with Terrane Development, said an action plan is now in effect, which includes several steps to mask the pungent odour during the process of making high-grade topsoil.

"We have to work in this stuff too," he said.

"We don’t like it any better than anybody else does."

Last month Mount Currie Chief Leonard Andrew wrote an urgent letter to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District requesting the SLRD regulate the noise and odours coming from the nearby Hazelwood Quarry.

"The storage of this noxious substance is less than 500 metres from homes on IR #10," wrote Chief Andrew.

"The prevailing winds carry this atmosphere contamination and choke our ability to enjoy the air outside our homes. It is disgusting."

The SLRD responded with an investigation into the operations on the site.

There are two main projects ongoing at the Hazelwood Quarry, a roughly 100 acre site just north of the Pemberton Industrial Park. Both businesses operate under Terrane Development.

One business is the production of high-grade topsoil using chicken manure from the Lower Mainland mixed with composted wood lying on the land.

A second business is a quarrying operation, which until recently, was in the process of blasting rock on the land.

An errant blast at the end of April, which sent rocks flying next to Mount Currie homes, has resulted in a stop-blast order while the Ministry of Energy and Mines investigates.

A spokesperson from the ministry, Shawn Robins, said the ministry’s investigation is still ongoing. He added that the chief mines inspector has met with the regional inspector and that recommendations would come out of the investigation.

SLRD Administrator Paul Edgington said it would be premature to talk about the results of their own investigation now because the details have yet to be finalized.

"We’ve been doing some of our own investigation into possible remedy actions for consideration of the board," he said

"As soon as they’re done we’ll present them to the Chair such that she can determine calling a special board meeting, if need be, to enact them."

There have been no discussions between Terrane Development and the SLRD at this point.

But Evans said the company has made strides in recent weeks on its own accord to reduce the smell of the chicken manure.

The new action plan calls for a covered storage area to contain the manure when it is not in production.

This would hold the smell and protect the manure from the rain.

The plan also outlines a process for the company to cover the manure with a bio-filter layer of reclaimed wood on the top and bottom of the pile.

"(The wood) basically eats up all the odour before it escapes to the atmosphere," said Evans.

Because of the proximity to Mount Currie homes and businesses, Evans said the company is also looking to move the storage area west on the property, further away from Mount Currie.

In addition the plan talks about monitoring wind direction to avoid starting production of the topsoil when the conditions are not favourable.

"Certainly there’s an odour when (the manure is) being processed but I was out there the other day... and I don’t smell anything," said Evans.

"People have got to think – we’re in a rural area. There are herds of cows around. There are lots of people with chickens and turkeys and pigs and horses."

Currently however there is no manure on the land as the supply from the Lower Mainland has dried up as a result of the avian flu crisis.

About three-quarters of the chicken and turkeys in the Fraser Valley have been slaughtered since the flu outbreak.

Evans said they are monitoring the situation closely to determine when it would be safe to import the manure.

"We don’t have any manure at this point to cover," he said.

"Before we bring something in we’re going to have to come up with a cover of one sort or another."

Phone calls to the Mount Currie band office were not returned this week.


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