Manitoba

St. Boniface 'cocktail of unpleasant smells' a nuisance: Councillor

Stinky smells in St. Boniface have inspired Coun. Matt Allard to put forward a motion to a city committee Tuesday to get to the bottom of the problem.

Coun. Matt Allard to put forward motion Tuesday to get to bottom of stench problem in St. Boniface

Stinky smells in St. Boniface have inspired Coun. Matt Allard to put forward a motion to a city committee Tuesday to get to the bottom of the problem. 2:00

There isn’t anywhere in Winnipeg quite like St. Boniface.

Stylish boutiques, hip bars, French restaurants, independent coffee shops, a world renowned chocolatier and the Festival du Voyageur headquarters all line Provencher Boulevard, a main drag in the francophone stronghold. But much to the chagrin of locals, just as prominent a feature is a certain unique smell that has hung heavy in the neighbourhood’s air for several years.

“Some mornings it’s worse than others,” said Annette St. Onge, who has called St. Boniface home for 63 years. “It makes your stomach turn.”

Eugene Martel has lived in St. Boniface for 30 years. Some days he can barely handle the stench.

“It's terrible. It affects your breathing sometimes and if you have a cold you'll feel it right away,” said Martel.

After years of enduring the funk, Winnipeg Coun. Matt Allard said Monday the stink needs to go.

“It’s a particular cocktail of unpleasant smells," said Allard. “I would like to know where it’s coming from and what we can do about it.”

Allard is putting a motion forward to a city committee to get to the bottom of the problem.

“I want to start talking about long-term development,” said Allard. “What's the vision for St. Boniface, and is it appropriate to have these types of activities happening so close to our homes?”

Allard has suspicions about what may be causing the smell. But there are a number of sources that could be contributing.

St. Boniface’s industrial area has meat processing plants, oil plants, rendering plants and a mushroom farm, all with their own signature scents. Loveday Mushroom Farm Ltd. however, often attracts the majority of the blame.

The owner of Loveday admitted his operations do cause an odour, but he rejected the claim that his company is solely responsible for the area's smells. He said Loveday has invested millions in mitigation measures over the years.

The province said businesses that have an environmental licence have to follow an odour nuisance clause, which means businesses can’t produce continuous offensive or unpleasant smells that could lead to complaints.

The province also said it hasn’t received any written complaints about the smell in St. Boniface lately.

Allard is scheduled to present his motion Tuesday.

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