A poster that someone attached to a stack of Comox Valley Record newspapers on Marsden Road claims that a chicken slaughterhouse is coming to the neighbourhood. The owner of Marsden Meadows, however, says the flyer is full of misinformation.
Christine Mooney, who owns the farm at 4494 Marsden, hopes to start a poultry plant, not a slaughterhouse, which is a larger proposition.
“This is a processing plant, just for chickens and turkeys,” she said. “I’m not trying to do this huge plant, I’m trying to do something little for local, sustainable farmers. There were 90,000 meat birds sold on Vancouver Island this year. There 65,000 turkeys sold this year to little farmers. We need somewhere to be able to process them, to be able to sell them locally…Even Ag BC says, ‘We need this’.”
The plan is to construct a 20×30 building with a treatment septic system.
“It’s just a little mom and pop plant,” she said. “It’s to help other little farmers like me. Right now, there’s nowhere for us to bring our animals. We’re transporting them to Port Alberni or Duncan or Victoria. There’s one place in Black Creek, but she’s really busy. The need and demand is more than just one.”
But the plant cannot proceed without it being approved and inspected.
Mooney didn’t want to approach neighbours until she had definite answers to questions. But she said a neighbour who is angry about the proposal hand-stapled a “really nasty flyer in every one of the newspapers,” and blew things out of proportion.
“There will be no smell, there’ll be no extra traffic,” she said. “There’ll be nothing left on property. Regional district will take it to the dump and compost it up there. Everything that was in the flyer was untrue.”
The CVRD Planning and Development Services Branch says her lot is residentially-zoned and would require an amendment to the zoning bylaw in order to proceed.
“The zoning bylaw calls this ‘Intensive Agriculture’ and is permitted in the Rural-ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) zone, but not in Residential zones,” a statement says.
The CVRD board will decide whether to decline or proceed with the application, which would involve referrals and a public hearing/consultation. Alternatively, Mooney could apply for a Temporary Use Permit for a three-year term, which also involves public consultation.