City staff seek zoning changes for London abattoir, residents speak out
Administration set to recommend zoning change to allow abattoir
A London city council committee will discuss a rezoning proposal that would allow a south end farm to expand and add a slaughterhouse.
After the city's planning and environment committee sent the owner's application back to city staff, administration is recommending the proposal go ahead.
"The abattoir is considered to be an agriculturally related commercial use and the livestock facility is considered to be a primary agriculture use," said Sonia Wise, a planner with the city.
If approved, it would be the first time that land within city limits was rezoned for use as an abattoir.
The facility would also be the first halal abattoir in the immediate area. Halal refers to the Islamic processing practice which includes a religious blessing that is believed to keep the animal's pain to the minimum.
Parkhill Meats in Parkhill, about 50 kilometres northwest of London, is the closest halal abattoir to the city.
Residents speak out
However, the proposal has left a bitter taste in the mouths of area residents.
Matt Millar works on his family farm across the road the property that currently has a barn with livestock. He says adding a slaughterhouse would add to problems he already has with the site.
"There were dead animals strewn all across the field. There manure piles you could smell … There was a huge fly infestation," Millar said. "Granting [the owner] the opportunity to expand the operation is just a bad idea."
Several area residents also spoke out through letters included in a staff report expected to be presented before a city committee Monday.
But Mike Abualhayja, the man behind the proposal, says Londoners need an accessible halal slaughterhouse.
"There's nothing around," he said. "The [Muslim] community is growing and they need halal."
The operations would also cater to beyond the Muslim community, offering processed meats to all customers, Abualhayja said.
"This is will not only benefit the Muslim community but everybody, the amount of workers and employers that will be hired will benefit everybody."
He expects about 10 people would be employed by the operation.
Wise said the city is taking steps to ensure the livestock facility, if approved, would be appropriately managed and maintained on site.
A zoning requirement to relocate the outdoor livestock area away from other properties would be in place if the proposal is approved, she said.
City staff would also recommend adequate outdoor fencing and tree planting to make the area secluded.
A slaughterhouse would have to be licensed through the province if a livestock facility is permitted by the city.
If the rezoning proposal is endorsed by the committee, it would go to the full city council for a final decision on July 25..