Manitoba

Hundreds register complaints about smells in St. Boniface

In under a year, 222 people registered complaints about foul odours on st.bsmells.ca, and the Winnipeg city councillor for St. Boniface couldn't be happier.

Website helps Manitoba Conservation deal with smelly industries in the neighbourhood

Coun. Matt Allard says before st.bsmell.ca was launched, Manitoba Conservation had received no complaints about the bad odours in St. Boniface. There have been more than 200 complaints since the website was launched less than a year ago. (CBC)

In under a year, 222 people registered complaints about foul odours on st.bsmell.ca, and the St. Boniface councillor couldn't be happier. 

Coun. Matt Allard launched the website in April 2015 after hearing repeated complaints about the smell from constituents while he was campaigning during the Winnipeg civic election.

Allard said all complaints registered on the site are forwarded to Manitoba Conservation, which is the organization that deals with odour and other environmental complaints.

Prior to the website, which is a form people can fill in listing the time, date and location of the smell, and the suspected source of the smell, Allard said Conservation had no idea there was an issue.

"Manitoba Conservation was saying before, they essentially had no complaints on St. B. smell, and you know, being a resident of the area and having campaigned extensively, this issue was at the door, so people were definitely aware of the issue. They just weren't sure where to send the complaint," Allard said.

Complaints in Old St. Boniface were primarily focused on the mushroom plant, while in Windsor Park they were about a rendering plant.
Some of the complaints registered on stbsmell.ca are about the mushroom plant. (CBC)

Sometimes the issue is a quick fix, such as the door of a rendering plant being left open. Other times it requires more mitigation to deal with the smell.

"These complaints are a tool for Manitoba Conservation to know where the hot spots are, and I think in the case of Loveday Mushrooms, there has recently been major capital upgrades that have mitigated the smell substantially," Allard said.

"And then long term, when it comes time to renew these environmental licences, Conservation now has the tool to say,'You know, this environmental licence is really a big issue. There's been a whole lot of complaints, so what mitigating measures can be taken in terms of capital upgrades for this site?'" Allard said.

He also hopes to use the information gathered from the site to have a broader conversation about land use and industrial development near residential areas.

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