London News & Search
A slaughterhouse may be coming to a neighbourhood in London’s southwest.
City council’s environment and planning committee approved Monday a Halal abattoir for 8076 Longwoods Rd., a farm located near what neighbours call a growing residential area.
“It’s very disappointing. It’s kind of embarrassing they did that to their community,” Rick Burt, who lives on Longwoods Road near the farm, said after the meeting.
Burt has seen dead animals on the farm, and the flies and smell have driven residents indoors. He’s also lived in the area 35 years and questions why an agricultural operation only a few years old, can hold sway with city politicians.
“This is not right. He has not managed the property, properly. This is so close to urban development it is going to be a big problem,” added Arlene Bulger, who lives nearby on Murray Road.
“The flies last summer were atrocious. You could not sit outside.”
Supporters of the abattoir — a Halal abattoir is one that prepared meat according to Muslim law — also filled the council gallery.
“The city is just doing their duty, this will serve the community,” said Rashad Temraz, a friend of property owner Muayad Abualhayja.
Coun. Anna Hopkins, who represents the community, made a plea for understanding that the city has little choice, given the area is zoned for agriculture use and the planning department has worked to minimize the impact on neighbours.
“It’s a huge concern in the community and I want to acknowledge the concerns. This has been difficult, and I have seen and heard their concerns. I have heard loud and clearly, they do not want an abattoir, “ said Hopkins.
Hopkins has been criticized by opponents for not supporting their position.
“She has been out there, she has seen the flies, seen the dead animals, and she is not supporting us whatsoever,” said Burt.
“There have been rotting carcasses there, bone and skin, dead for weeks outside,” he said of goats and sheep on site.
Abualhayja has been charged for keeping animals on site when it’s not zoned for that use and goes to court in August.
“How can he follow the law when he has not yet?” added Bulger. “He is being rewarded for bad behaviour.”
But it’s a planning matter in an agricultural zone, and little can be done to stop it as the homes have been built in an agricultural area, added Hopkins.
“They did not realize the lands are agricultural . . . this is how difficult it can be when city and country meet,” she added.
The planning department, in its support of the proposal, has determined standards need to be met to approve the slaughterhouse on the two-hectare site.
— Moving a paddock so animals aren’t as close to nearby homes.
— Installing fencing, landscaping and tree planting.
— The abattoir can’t be expanded or added onto.
— A nutrient management system to reduce manure smell.
— A farm-food protection plan to regulate odours and flies.
“They will be there to protect community concerns,” said Hopkins.
“It has been pretty tough to have this large an area of the city zoned agriculture. I would like to understand how it came to be near a subdivision. How do we allow a subdivision to pop up in an area still zoned agriculture?” asked Coun. Maureen Cassidy.
Since May the city has received about 40 complaints about the abattoir and a petition with 1,100 signatures opposing it, the committee heard.
City planning staff said the area came into the city through annexation and the city did not approve home building there.
“It is counter to provincial policy to allow this. This is now prohibited,” said city planner Michael Tomazincic.
London News & Search