Nfld. & Labrador

Cavendish mink farm withdraws contentious application for cattle farming

A community group is celebrating after an application to expand a mink farm in Cavendish was withdrawn, but it's worried about what's coming next.

Opposition group worried farm will come back with new application

A mink farm in Cavendish has dropped an application to get into cattle farming, much to the relief of a group of concerned citizens. (CBC)

A community group is celebrating after an application to expand a mink farm in Cavendish was withdrawn, but it's worried about what's coming next.

The Trinity Bay South Environmental Committee opposed the application by Viking Fur from the beginning, arguing the expansion would create environmental and economic problems in the region.

Viking Fur was planning an extension to get into cattle farming, with a goal to add 100 head of cattle.

"It's been a real problem in the area," said Jerry Byrne, chair of the environmental committee. 

"Not just for the businesses in the area, but the flies and the smells have really been egregious at times."

What's coming next?

The committee submitted an "extensive package" for the government's environmental assessment during the application process. If the proposal was pulled due to their recommendations, Byrne said they are pleased.

But the group is worried because the application was pulled by the company on its own accord. It is worried Viking Fur will come back with a new proposal.

"We would have much preferred to have it rejected [by government]," Byrne said. "We need to meet with government to find out what this really means."

CBC News contacted Viking Fur owner Peter Noer, but has yet to hear back.

Expansion could affect tourism, group worries

Byrne is worried an expansion will create more odour in the area, and dissuade tourists from visiting, thus affecting the cabins, cottages and other accommodations in the region.

"If we are going to lose dozens of jobs in tourism to gain two part-time jobs in a cattle ranch, I mean, it's a net loss for everybody," Byrne said.

The owners of a mink farm in Cavendish say they wanted to get into cattle farming to help their business stay afloat since mink pelt prices have plummeted. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

The group will now wait for word from the government on what is happening next. Despite opposition to the farm, Byrne said they are resigned to the fact it will always be there, so they may as well work together.

"We want this area to prosper, believe me, and we want to work as a partner in this whole thing. But it needs to be open, it needs to be transparent," he said.

With files from Mark Quinn