September 11, 2006

Clean Environment Commission to conduct hearing on OlyWest hog plant proposal

Manitoba's Clean Environment Commission has been asked by Conservation Minister Stan Struthers to conduct a full public review of a proposal by OlyWest to build and operate a new 45,000-hog-per-week processing plant within the city of Winnipeg. The company submitted its proposal under the provincial Environment Act. The review, said Struthers, "will then lead to a recommendation to government by the CEC on whether or not this proposal should be licensed."

At the same time, the province issued terms of reference for also the CEC hearing. The Commission will be required to make specific recommendations to address:

*any environmental and community impacts respecting odours, noise, aesthetics, dust and increases in truck traffic;

*the potential impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed new hog processing plant on the biological and physical environment, including surface water, groundwater, wildlife and dust;

*the incremental environmental impacts associated with an increase in pre-treated wastewater to be sent to Winnipeg's North End pollution control centre, plus additional releases of wastewater from affected combined sewer overflows on the quality of the water and the downstream uses of the Red River and Lake Winnipeg; and

*socio-economic, social, cultural and health impacts directly related to the environmental impacts of the proposal.

Struthers added that Manitobans interested in participating in the CEC hearings will have access up to $100,000 in funding support to assist with presentations. As the next step, the CEC will set up the hearing and the participant funding process.

The CEC public hearing will review the proposal and receive and consider public comments and concerns. Its report, to be presented to the minister after the hearing, will recommend whether a licence should be granted or not and, if so, under what terms and conditions.

If the CEC recommends that a licence be issued under the Environment Act, the hearing terms of reference call for the agency to make additional recommendations to address:

*the potential environmental impacts from a sludge and solids management program associated with the facility's wastewater pre-treatment and rendering processes;

*the measures proposed by the city of Winnipeg to ensure that pre-treated wastewater from OlyWest will allow the North End pollution control centre to remain in compliance with its Environment Act licence and that interim nutrient reduction targets for phosphorus and nitrogen will be met;

*measures proposed by OlyWest to mitigate any adverse impacts resulting from the proposal and to manage any residual adverse effects; and

*monitoring programs and future research that may be proposed by OlyWest or as may otherwise be deemed appropriate.

The company is proposing to build a $200-million hog plant in the St. Boniface Industrial Park. An advice document prepared by Manitoba Conservation for Olywest outlines the environmental assessment and licensing process and provides advice for the preparation of the proposal and the environmental impact statement. The document may be viewed on-line at www.gov.mb.ca/conservation/envapprovals/registries/olywest.

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