TBL coun­cil de­clines pig slaugh­ter­house proposal

Sherbrooke Record - - BROME COUNTY NEWS - By Ann David­son

Af­ter much con­ster­na­tion and out­cry from cit­i­zens in TBL who re­acted neg­a­tively to a pro­posed in­stal­la­tion of a slaugh­ter­house for pigs on Mill Road, of­fi­cials made the de­ci­sion last Fri­day to de­cline the ap­pli­ca­tion by the pro­moter. The slaugh­ter­house project is a no-go. This de­ci­sion has sparked a re­sponse from cit­i­zens who were in favour.

Town of­fi­cials alerted the com­mu­nity in mid-au­gust about a project that would be a $35 mil­lion project to be lo­cated on Mill Road in that would em­ploy up to 70 work­ers. Given the na­ture of the op­er­a­tion, the town as­sured that all mea­sures would be un­der­taken to eval­u­ate the im­pact on the town’s wa­ter sup­ply, the sewage ca­pac­ity, traf­fic, noise, and other en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns. Mayor Richard Bur­combe and Town Man­ager Gil­bert Arel told the com­mu­nity that the pro­moter would have to ad­here to all cur­rent laws and reg­u­la­tions.

Typ­i­cally, a flurry of pub­lic con­dem­na­tions to­ward the pro­posed project were pub­lished in lo­cal pa­pers, and a dom­i­nat­ing turnout of cit­i­zens at coun­cil meet­ings voiced dis­ap­proval based on

myr­iad re­searched rea­sons in the af­ter­math of the no­tice — en­vi­ron­ment, health, meth­ods of slaugh­ter­ing, and the town’s abil­ity to man­age waste and sup­ply the nec­es­sary high vol­umes of wa­ter.

Bur­combe says that he is happy that peo­ple got in­volved in the di­a­logue about this proposal and feels that the gen­eral re­sponse helped coun­cil to come to a de­ci­sion. It be­came ob­vi­ous that cit­i­zens didn’t want it. “All who at­tended the last coun­cil meet­ing were firmly against the plan. We feel that we have lis­tened to our cit­i­zens.” Bur­combe says that the town’s re­sponse to the plan will be sent to the C.P.T.A.Q (Com­mis­sion sur la pro­tec­tion des ter­ri­toires agri­coles du Québec) while the pro­moter seems to be pre­pared to amend the plan in con­form­ity to the re­quire­ments set out by the Que­bec govern­ment.

Mario Paris of Canada Ponds and TBL res­i­dents Shawn Re­gan and Nick Giroux have been vo­cal on Face­book about the lost op­por­tu­nity. Re­gan ex­cuses cit­i­zens for their re­peated “fear of the un­known” and laments that the project would have brought many jobs to the town and says, “Maybe we would have had more full-time res­i­dents and not only week­enders.” He won­ders just how much in taxes the town could have gained from this ven­ture. Paris es­ti­mates that it would be in the prox­im­ity of $275,000 on the build­ing alone. Coun­cil­lor Lee Pat­ter­son agreed with Paris that there could have been rev­enue from the land and the build­ing for the town but coun­tered that tax­pay­ers would have to cover the enor­mous costs of sewer up­grade that would be able to ac­com­mo­date the large vol­umes of waste along with the road that would need re­build­ing to stan­dards that would be needed for in­creased heavy truck traf­fic.

Giroux says that, “You bring busi­nesses and cre­ate jobs to bring more peo­ple to this town and get our econ­omy grow­ing again.” Giroux sug­gests that maybe some of the va­cant store­fronts would fill up again. “I am very sad when peo­ple with no idea what makes the econ­omy roll gov­ern our town... I love my town but def­i­nitely not im­pressed by the peo­ple try­ing to let it go down.”

Pat­ter­son re­minded all not to for­get that the coun­cil adopted a strate­gic plan based on the con­sul­ta­tion of the com­mu­nity. He said that de­vel­op­ing a new in­dus­trial park to at­tract man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs was not in the cards at the time. Al­though pro­vin­cial reg­u­la­tions don’t al­low for pol­lut­ing, Pat­ter­son says that other en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sid­er­a­tions that have to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion are more re­lated to in­creased noise lev­els, and im­pact on traf­fic from ex­tra cars and truck. And he said that the duck farm is still not back op­er­at­ing to ca­pac­ity thus pro­vid­ing a re­lief on the town’s wa­ter sup­ply. “TBL has a tourism brand­ing and the fo­cus is cur­rently to re­build the down­town core to help busi­nesses in this sec­tor thrive. TBL is open for busi­ness and the coun­cil will look at all op­tions pre­sented to it to ben­e­fit the tax base and to pro­vide em­ploy­ment, but not at any cost.”

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