Residents not smelling typical farm odour

This is not an inconvenient farm aroma, it is the deeply offensive noxious stench of garbage on an industrial scale

In his letter to the editor (PNR, Aug. 23) Mr. Walters asserts that residents of the Saanich Peninsula repay the provender of the local farmers by getting “upset over the occasional odour that may come from their farms and try and shut them down.”

He says we have the freedom to move and he points out that in decades past there were more farmers than we see now. He is correct — but not because residents complained and shut farms down.

Farm kids have had more options in recent years than in generations past and not all chose to stay on the land. Some farms are gone because retiring farmers had the opportunity to sell the land for development, thus the establishment of the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Some are gone because the province shut down small abattoirs which put farmed animals too far from market and fewer animals require less hay.

All these factors affect our farmers, but in the 19 years I have lived here I know of no one who ever seriously objected to natural farm odours and certainly no farm operation has ever been forced to shut down. If Mr. Walters has information to the contrary I would like to hear it.

Sure, we joke about it when the fields are freshly fertilized but it doesn’t last long and the truth is that we are so accustomed to natural farm odours most of the time we hardly smell them.

We just smell the land, the smell of living in this place. Of course we don’t object to the farms, we could have lived anywhere else but we chose to live here.

I applaud Mr. Walters’ effort to defend our farmers but they are not at risk.

What is at risk is a single inadequately contained regional food waste processing facility located on farm land operating in breach of the bylaw and grossly offending its neighbours – including neighbouring farmers.

No, Mr. Walters, this not a farm issue. No farm on the Peninsula has ever generated a smell like this.

This is not an inconvenient farm aroma, it is the deeply offensive noxious stench of garbage on an industrial scale that we have lived with nearly every day of this otherwise beautiful summer. I chose to live here but I can’t leave because on the worst days I couldn’t give my house away.

Rebecca Cotterell

Tanner Ridge