North Cowichan Councillor Joyce Behnsen. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus odour debate gets heated in North Cowichan

Coun. Joyce Behnsen accused of spreading “misinformation”

A letter from the province in response to an ongoing odour issue in Chemainus led to lively debate in the Municipality of North Cowichan’s council chambers.

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 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” 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.”

Just Posted

More than 150 tremors hit Vancouver Island in last 24 hours

Seismologists monitor to see if pressure will be added to major fault

Rewarding year for Chemainus Secondary School sports

Community assistance imperative to offering an expanded program

Closure of St. Joseph’s School in Chemainus a trying time for staff, students

Enrollment numbers fall short, resulting in the decision no one wanted

UPDATED: Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

Whales hunting porpoises thrill tourists

Pod spotted hunting porpoises near Pender Island

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of Vancouver Island couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Most Read