Survey will not change stink finger pointing

Mayor Jon Lefebure is unquestionably right when he says that the results of an odour survey in Chemainus won’t make people any happier.

Complaints about what some feel are well-nigh unbearably bad smells led to the survey.

Many of those complaining had already identified who they thought was to blame – Coast Environmental Ltd. But the survey says, not so fast.

While some odours are emanating from the site in the industrial park, most aren’t that bad, according to the survey, nor are

they the predominant source of odours in the community – that would be agricultural.

It’s unlikely Coast’s neighbours will be satisfied with this declaration.

Coast is a composting operation. Some odour is to be expected.

But neighbours have reported smells so bad it makes them gag.

So who’s right? The report, or the neighbours?

One is an objective measure. The other is the experience of those who are there day in and day out.

What we hope is that the

schism can be healed by the odour reduction measures that Coast has committed to undertaking.

If all goes well, things could settle down to liveable for all concerned by the end of the month, when most of the abatement measures could be completed.

We feel for everyone involved.

It’s tough to police or regulate a smell. What is okay for some, is unbearable for others. Living with a stench can significantly reduce the quality of life.

But composting is an important function, too.

We work hard to divert as much stuff from our waste stream as possible, and composting things means we turn them back into good, clean soil.

It’s a desirable enterprise. We hope, between technology and good will, a point can be reached that everyone can live with.

But what about those agricultural smells?

We think most in the Cowichan Valley have accepted them as a part of life. Manure is spread on fields and it smells for a while.

But our food and farmers are more important, so we hold our noses and move on.

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