Local resident 'Murph' disagreed with most everything composting proponant David Laing said at the meeting.

Local resident 'Murph' disagreed with most everything composting proponant David Laing said at the meeting.

Composting raises a stink in Shirley

Composting facility not welcomed by Shirley area residents

  • Dec. 10, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Daniel Chauvin

Sooke News Mirror

Shirley, Sooke and Jordan River residents packed Shirley Community Hall to hear a public information session by Victoria’s David Laing to inform the community of his composting facility proposal, answer questions and determine community support.  His presentation detailed the processing and environmental concerns and attempted to quell the concerns of the fiery crowd packed into the hall.

As of January 2015 the Capital Regional District (CRD) will not accept kitchen scraps at their regional Hartland Road garbage dump located in Saanich. Laing has proposed a new facility located between Shirley and Jordan River that is located on the north side of Highway 14 between Sandcut Creek to the east and Desolation Creek to the west. A small portion of the property crosses Highway 14 and abuts Sandcut Beach.

Laing’s professional manner and presentation involved many images and points displaying his company’s work from his other facility in Cobble Hill. Numerous statistics and research were put forward to express how “state of the art” this facility would be in controlling environmental concerns around odour, water usage, pests (rats), traffic and containment of run off.

The locals were patient through three-quarters of the presentation before the room began to buzz with questions and passionate statements that called into question Laing’s research and claims.

One of the first people to speak out was Donovan Ray, who doubted one of the more prominent images displaying wind direction.

“That map is all wrong” he boldly stated. The winds come primarily from the west and not from the direction the arrows on the map indicated, he said. Ray who stated he knew the wind direction well because of his paddle-boarding experience, raised a deep concern that the odour would be a nuisance to locals and tourists alike.  Many in the room concurred with heckles, laughter and raised hands routed the genteel manner of the first part of the presentation.

As Laing tried to address his research sources for wind direction, the locals who know the area intimately continued to punch holes in the presentation. The impatience of the process was beginning to show.

“Murph” as he is known by locals, raised the bar, disagreeing with almost everything being put forward. He lives a 1,000 feet from the proposed facility and was a logger at Jordan River for 30 years.

“Not only is the wind direction all wrong, but none of the concerns about water flow are correctly addressed. And the truck traffic of waste on West Coast road to and from the facility is being downplayed,” he said.

Someone else raised the questions surrounding the Cobble Hill facility controversy, with its complaints from the locals there regarding smell, noise and rats. Laing went on the defensive and attempted to explain how he was doing things differently from the previous owner and how the value of his property there had been wrongly undervalued.

“At Cobble Hill, there is more than just my facility happening, hence the noted problems,” he countered.

After this an avalanche of inquiry rumbled through the room, all of it highly critical and skeptical of Laing’s proposal. Laing did his best to continue with his slideshow and answer concerns.

“The Fisher Road facility is loud but different,” he said. More site-specific issues were brought up.

Gerhard Wild, owner of Fossil Bay Resort, laid out a counter-stroke to Laing’s presentation. He claimed he had thought at length of the proposal which had addressed many concerns of residents, but as he looked more into the proposal he found it fundamentally flawed. He spoke at length about how the “Trojan horse” facility would impact air quality, ground water, wide patches of forest floor, wild life and property values.

An on-the-spot straw poll was called for with hands showing a resounding “No!” to the compost facility and only a few abstentions. The residents who were present were clear with their rejection of the proposed facility. An elderly woman spoke out and said Laing had received the answer he was looking for at this public meeting. Another man chimed in that he needn’t bother wasting time or resources pursuing this any further.

Laing said he would honour his word, but he would like the opportunity to be heard.

“Given what has happened in the industry in Victoria, I wish the opponents would take a little time to learn about it instead of taking a fear-based approach, and then make an informed decision about it,” he said.

Mike Hicks, regional director for the JdF, had this to say:  “The bottom line is, ‘follow the process’ people have demanded.  After going through the process, it has merit if it cannot be seen or heard. Ultimately the community will decide.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Harmony Project Sooke students recently performed at the B.C. legislature. Harmony Project Sooke runs a stings program for viola, violin, and cello for students in Grade 2 and up and a drum line program for grades six and up. (Contributed – Harmony Project Sooke)
Gift and program support young Sooke musicians

Harmony Project Sooke students shine

West Shore RCMP is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing Langford resident, Nevaeh Hansell. (West Shore RCMP)
MISSING: Police seek 13-year-old Langford girl last seen May 3

Police are asking for help to locate the teen

The Capital Regional District’s Langford-based fire dispatch could be dissolved by the end of the year, replaced by a larger dispatcher in Saanich or Surrey. (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford-based CRD Fire Dispatch could see its last call this year

$1 million in mandatory upgrades too expensive for local municipalities, says Langford mayor

A few of the 10 or so workers from Ocean Concrete on the line Wednesday wave to passing motorists who honked in support of the locked out employees. A lockout by the company began April 30 and affects 23 workers at the company’s Victoria branch. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
No concrete deal in place, Victoria workers locked out

Ocean Concrete locks out 23 workers at Victoria plant as bargaining stalls

A 23-year-old driver won’t be behind the wheel again until next winter after they were caught going 67 kilometers over the speed limit Tuesday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Driver in Oak Bay caught going 67 km/h over speed limit

The driver was clocked going 117km/h in a 50 km/h zone, issued multiple tickets

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members, before descending into a gorge near Nile Creek to rescue an injured woman on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (ASAR Twitter photo)
SAR crews help rescue hiker who plunged 10 metres onto rocks near Qualicum

Helicopter with winch system required for technical operation in remote location

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Meghan Gilley, a 35-year-old emergency room doctor and new mom was vaccinated from COVID-19 in January, while she was pregnant. She’s encouraging others to do the same. (Submitted)
‘The best decision’: B.C. mom encourages other pregnant women to get COVID-19 shot

Meghan Gilley, 35, delivered a healthy baby after being vaccinated against the virus while pregnant

Former Vernon Panthers football standout Ben Hladik of the UBC Thunderbirds (top, in a game against the Manitoba Bisons, <ins>making one of his 38 Canada West solo tackles in 2019</ins>), was chosen in Tuesday’s 2021 Canadian Football League draft. (Rich Lam - UBC Thunderbirds photo)
B.C. Lions call on Vernon standout in CFL draft

Canadian Football League club selects former VSS Panthers star Ben Hladik in third round of league draft

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read