Tempers flared Monday when the proposed North Saanich slaughterhouse came back to North Saanich council.
“I’ve been in municipal politics for 19 years,” said Coun. Ted Daly, who criticized staff for issuing building permits on the property in question. “It’s not my style. But frankly I don’t think staff is being proactive, I don’t think the mayor is being proactive.”
Mayor Alice Finall called for order twice during discussions.
“I was disturbed by the comments attacking staff. It was untoward,” she said.
Murray Hull of Kildonan Farm Fine Foods on Munro Road has a Class A licence from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control that is one step in the process of operating a commercial slaughterhouse on his property. He plans to process chickens and turkeys locally, rather than trucking them up Island or to the mainland.
“The bottom line is all that is dealt with. This would not have been allowed to happen if all those things weren’t dealt with,” Hull said.
Neighbours complained citing environmental concerns related to waste and wastewater management. They presented a letter with 18 signatures to North Saanich council on June 4, opposing the slaughterhouse.
North Saanich’s involvement stops at building permits and a possible business licence. Daly said staff should have looked at Hull’s track record before allowing a building permit to construct the processing facility.
“The biggest concern is that neighbours have said that until we know this guy has a proper facility to process these birds, removal of waste, removal of wastewater, nothing should go ahead,” Daly said, adding several buildings on Hull’s farm don’t conform to municipal bylaws – a point that applies to many properties on the Peninsula.
Chief administrative officer Rob Buchan said staff rarely consult council before issuing building permits.
The building inspector can withhold a permit if he sees fit. In this case, inspector John Post struck a deal with Hull, who vowed to remediate non-conforming buildings on his land. Buchan added North Saanich will not issue a business licence to Hull until all concerns have been addressed.
“They keep reiterating [their concerns] and we keep saying this is what’s happening and these agencies wouldn’t have signed off if we didn’t have approval,” Hull said. “We’re not breaking any laws, any bylaws.”