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County fine with proposed poultry farm

Red Deer County resident raises concerns about proximity of proposed chicken farm to nearby homes

A planned poultry farm near Innisfail has ruffled some local feathers.

The 40,000 chicken broilers confined feeding operation (CFO) is proposed for a 32-acre site about 10 km east of Innisfail.

As is routine, the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) forwarded the application to Red Deer County for comment on whether the poultry farm fit in within county planning documents.

The NRCB is responsible for approving the application and ensuring it meets all confined feeding operation regulations.

County council unanimously agreed to offer no objections to the proposal to the NRCB.

Neighbouring landowner Grant Lastiwka raised concerns about manure odour and the impact of the poultry farm on local water supplies in a letter to council.

Lastiwka also questioned the wisdom of allowing a poultry operation on a 32-acre site rather than a larger piece of land.

In a report to council, county planning staff say the site was inspected and the “proposed use is compatible with the surrounding agriculture community.”

Lastiwka said he plans to pass on his concerns — which are shared by some of his neighbours — to the NRCB.

There are five residences with seven people within 800 metres of the proposed poultry operation, he said. He moved to his property in 1993 and other homes have also been there for a long time, attracted by the mountain view.

“Putting a CFO in a highly populated area is a challenge to manage,” he said.

County councillors voiced their support for the application, noting preserving agriculture is the county’s primary goal.

Coun. Jean Bota said the NRCB will review the application closely.

“I do know the NRCB goes through these things with a fine-toothed comb,” said Bota. “I’m very confident with what they will do with this.”

Coun. Don Church also expressed his faith in the NRCB. “I’m confident that the NRCB will evaluate this and put the controls in necessary for this situation.”

Finding large tracts of farmland with no nearby neighbours is becoming increasingly difficult and makes it difficult to expand agriculture, said Coun. Richard Lorenz.

The county must make do with what it has to work with, he added.

Mayor Jim Wood said the poultry farm meets county regulations, now that the owner has agreed to change the position of a barn.

Other concerns should be addressed by the NRCB, which has jurisdiction.

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