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Expansion options stink in Chemainus

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is giving to the company operating a composting facility in Chemainus conditional approval to expand. Coast Environmental Ltd. must choose one of two options if they want to move from accepting strictly sludge, including sewage, brewery and dairy, to also accepting food, fish and garden waste. Bob McDonald with the CVRD said the first option is to place a six-month moratorium on expanding and then a six-month phasing in of the new system, with the district closely monitoring and measuring the expansion. But McDonald said the second option, to enclose the entire facility inside a single building, is their preference. “The hope is that they’ll take that option and this will be the end of concern in the community and odours will be a thing of the past and most people won’t even know they’re operating there.” Last fall, dozens of residents, including local businessperson Cam Drew, protested the foul smell emanating from the site. Drew told SunFM News that he doesn't understand why coast Environmental is looking to make their operations even bigger. “When you’ve been hit with that odour, it offends you so deeply, that it’s just difficult to comprehend how an operator—the problems they’ve had in the past—is given the opportunity to handle even more tonnage, more product.” Under municipal and provincial bylaws, the CVRD is legally required to let the facility expand if it doesn't impact the people and the surroundings. Drew agrees with the CVRD’s position that Coast Environmental should choose the option of enclosing the entire composting facility. The CVRD, in conjunction with North Cowichan, is responsible only for regulating the composting part of the operation, while the sewage transfer section is unregulated.

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