Apology letter is unwelcome

Residents say apology from Stanhope Farm is too late

A letter sent to the mayors of Central Saanich and Saanich as well as the neighbours of Stanhope Farm caused yet another stir in the ongoing stench saga this week.

The letter from Gordon and Robert Rendle, owners of Stanhope Farm who partnered with Foundation Organics in 2010, was received by council at their meeting on Oct. 7 in the presence of roughly 100 community members who turned out to voice their opinions that it was too litte, too late.

“It was never our intention to impact our neighbours, or to lose the farming focus on our property,” wrote the Rendles. “We are still firstly, farmers. However, we recognize that the disturbance caused initially by the truck traffic associated with filling and construction etc., and then the more significant disturbance and upset caused by odour problems has been very disruptive.”

The letter goes on to say that the parties realize the odour issue must be addressed and that the family hopes the District of Central Saanich and the Capital Regional District will call a temporary halt on their continuing legal action.

The District recently filed a notice of civil claim against Gordon James Rendle, Robert Roderick Rendle, Stanhope Dairy Farm Ltd. and Foundation Organics Ltd. in B.C. Supreme Court.

The notice of civil claim seeks a declaration that the composting facility is in contravention of the municipality’s land use bylaws as well as an order requiring permanent cessation of using the property to produce compost for sale.

The notice also seeks an order requiring permanent cessation of using the property for the sorting of refuse and recyclables that cannot be composted and do not originate from the property. Finally, the District is also after an order to prevent odours detectable by humans from escaping from the composting facility on the property by carrying out initial decomposition of organic matter in a closed reactor or vessel.

The main concern echoed from the gallery during the meeting stemmed from the request from the Rendle’s to cease legal action, though both Mayor Alastair Bryson and council members were careful with their answers to questions from the gallery, stating often that “court actions are ongoing.”

Council did pass two motions during the meeting on the subject, including one that will see council send a letter to B.C. Assesment to see if a re-evaluation could be done for 2014 on the values of homes in the Tanner Ridge and Martindale Valley areas due to the ongoing odour problem.