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North Cowichan to Appeal Provincial Decision

The Municipality of North Cowichan is planning to appeal a decision the province made to issue a permit to Coast Environmental’s Chemainus operations.

The permit would increase the company’s composting capacity but, has been a lightning rod of criticism for years, especially in the summer months, for the foul smell emanating from the facility.

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said people who live in the area have been complaining to the municipality for quite some time.

“There’s a very long history here, I mean, the problem is the smell in Chemainus,” said Siebring. “We understand that some of the smell comes from dairy farms and some come from this plant but, the bottom line is that hasn’t been totally isolated out. There have been people across the highway that have been complaining for quite a while.”

The new permit would allow Coast Environmental to process 18,500 tonnes of composting material, an increase of more than five thousand tonnes from the current regulations.

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“If you’ve ever been there, particularly in the summertime when things are bad, they are really bad, it’s almost impossible to breathe,” said Siebring. “Now, the province comes along and says, ‘we’re going to increase the capacity,’ also at a time when from our perspective it doesn’t seem to make sense.”

Siebring said the Nanaimo Regional District compost stream goes to Duke Point, while the CVRD’s composting stream goes to Fisher Road.

The municipality plans to appeal the decision. North Cowichan has 30 days from when the province issued the permit, to appeal and Rob Conway, the municipality’s Director of Planning said that permit was issued February 26.

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