Ramsay group sues Lilydale over smell, noise

Calgary residents living near the Lilydale poultry plant have launched a lawsuit to get the company to cut down on the noise and smell.

Calgary residents living near the Lilydale Inc. poultry plant have launched a lawsuit to get the processor to cut down on the noise and smell.

Barry Robinson, the lawyer for the 17 Ramsay residents, says they want the plant cleaned up, and they're looking for $250,000 in damages for loss of enjoyment of their properties.

The residents’ claims have not been tested in court.

The group's main goal, Robinson says, is to get the plant to close at 5 p.m. every day.

Robin Tufts, part of the group suing the company, says the plant has expanded several times since 1980, when he moved in across the street. It’s now a round-the-clock operation.

"I find the backup alarms are really alarming," Tufts told CBC News. "They actually wake me up from a deep sleep."

Down the street, Todd Ford says the noise and smell from the plant have become impossible to live with.

"For me, this really began when my daughter picked up a chicken foot in my backyard," Ford said. "She was a year and a half. She's going on 10 now."

Ford suggested plant operations can even affect his mental health.

"It's always in your face," he said. "It's always there, just kind of peck, peck, pecking at the back of you."

Plant was first in Ramsay

The poultry operation has been in the southeast Calgary neighbourhood since 1941, and Lilydale has been involved since 1969.

But Robinson says it doesn’t matter who arrived in the neighbourhood first.

"The law of nuisance doesn’t care who got here first," he said. "The law of nuisance is about being a good neighbour."

He said the lawsuit  is also seeking damages for residents affected by an ammonia leak from the plant two years ago. The Alberta government recently laid charges against Lilydale under provincial environment laws, alleging the company failed to make a timely report of the leak to the Environment Department.

Lilydale says it has complied with all zoning regulations and intends to defend itself against the statement of claim from the Ramsay residents.