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Manure composting facility proposed for farmland near Wallenstein

The proposed manure composting facility was assessed for potential odours and noises impacting the surrounding residences.
The proposed manure composting facility was assessed for potential odours and noises impacting the surrounding residences. [Submitted]

Odour issues were top of the heap this week at Wellesley council as the public got a chance to air its concerns about a manure composting facility planned for the corner of Hergott and Temperance roads.

Lowell and Stephanie Horst are seeking a zone change to add four buildings to what is currently a vacant 23-acre agricultural property at 4214 Temperance Rd. near Wallenstein. Elmview Farms is proposing a compost facility for agriculturally sourced manure.

The public meeting was well attended by supporters of the venture, with few residents’ concerns noted.

Amongst the most pressing issues identified by township staff, were the possibility of odours and noise having adverse effects on nearby residents, as well as the increased traffic from manure deliveries and pickups. Consequently, the property owner provided studies looking at both odour and noise impacts from the proposed operation.

According to the environmental odour and dust assessment performed on the property, a manure facility was “unlikely” to exceed government stipulated “odour annoyance thresholds.” The study predicted that the odour coming from the facility would only be detectable about one per cent of the time for people living closest to the site.

The noise assessment, however, found that the drum screening machinery, used to process the manure, needed to be quieter in order to satisfy government regulations.

“In the noise study, there is some remediation that needs to be done on this piece of machinery to drop the noise down a little bit. But it certainly can be done,” said township planner Geoff VanderBaaren.

Traffic was another concern, particularly as the portion of Temperance Road that abuts the property is gravel covered and does not extend far enough to provide access to the property. VanderBaaren suggested that the road be upgraded and extended at the applicant’s expense.

Besides some technical details left to sort out, said VanderBaaren, there was nothing in the proposal that he opposed. He added that the Grand River Conservation Authority held a similar stance; and while the Region of Waterloo had yet to provide formal comments, VanderBaaren noted that they seemed generally supportive of the manure composting facility as well.

The proposed operation would require the construction of four buildings on the property, a 538.9 square metre (5,800 square foot) equipment storage and office building, a 223 sq. m. (2,400 sq. ft.) compost shipping facility, a 3,260.9 sq. m. (35,100 sq. ft.) compost storage building, and a 1,207.8 sq. m. (13,000 sq. ft.) compost building.

Approximately 3.7 acres of the property is proposed for development, removing about 15 per cent of the agricultural land from production.

Tuesday night’s public meeting was an information session, with council making no decisions. Planning staff will review the application and public comments before returning at a later date with a recommendation on the proposal.

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