TBL council declines pig slaughterhouse proposal
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.”