Nfld. & Labrador

Carcasses and fish guts? 'Not in our backyard,' says Chapel Arm mayor

The prospect of mink waste, fish guts and slaughterhouse remains all brewing under one roof has Chapel Arm's mayor raising a stink about a composting company looking to set up shop in town.

Composting company looking to set up shop in Trinity Bay town

Chapel Arm mayor is concerned the smell from organic waste, like fish guts coming from the proposed facility will be hard to live with. (Katie Breen/CBC)

The prospect of mink waste, fish guts and slaughterhouse remains all brewing under one roof has Chapel Arm's mayor raising a stink about a composting company looking to set up shop in town.

In a third attempt to get the facility running, Newfoundland Industrial Composting — formerly known as Metro Environmental Services — has submitted a proposal to establish a commercial indoor composting facility on the Long Harbour Access Road in the town.

"We are looking at dead carcasses, basically," said Mayor Joan Rideout.

According to the proposal submitted to the province, "the facility will collect and process a variety of organic wastes from agricultural and industrial sources in Newfoundland to produce a high-quality compost for agricultural and landscaping purposes."

Not in our backyard.- Joan Rideout

Rideout said the town, located in the southeast corner of Trinity Bay, has not been contacted by the company. However, town council has no control over the proposed location as it is outside of community limits.

But she said it will have big implications on her community and there doesn't appear to have been much consideration given to how this could affect Chapel Arm.

"Primarily the people in Chapel Arm are concerned about the odour. We have prevailing winds that come directly from the Long Harbour area," Rideout said.

Chicken carcasses will be part of the agricultural organic waste composted at the proposed facility. (CBC)

She said they're also concerned about contamination in the water system and not having the proper safety measures.

Rideout said the fire department has limited staff and doesn't have the proper training to deal with a potentially toxic compost fire.

Concerns over composting

Rideout said without any communication from the company she has relied on the proposal and other research to understand how  indoor composting works.

She said it's hard to find any evidence supporting the practice.

This is waste from a mink farm in Newfoundland. (CBC)

According to what she's learned, Rideout said, the piles of waste that accumulate over time will periodically have to be turned with heavy machinery.

"Yeah, not in our backyard."

Rideout said there are a few longtime residents who live about 400 metres from the proposed site on Crown land.

The proposal shows the project was registered April 24. The public has until June 3 to comment on the decision and by June 8 the minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment will make a decision.

CBC News has asked Newfoundland Industrial Composting for comment but has not heard back.

Province politicians silent

Rideout said she has contacted MHA Mark Browne but is still waiting for a response.

She said she and other residents have also sent letters to Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto but likewise haven't heard back.

Rideout noted the provincial government plans to divert 50 per cent of solid waste from landfills by 2025, nearly twice what it currently does.

"My concern is that the province is looking to support a project that will deal with those organics and they will jump in too quickly."

There will be a Chapel Arm town hall meeting May 7 at 7:30 p.m. The location is still being determined.

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