Wheatland County’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) has denied a development permit for the operation of an abattoir, or slaughterhouse, during the Tuesday, May 9 MPC meeting.
The proposed operation would be located approximately one mile north of the hamlet of Ardenode, north of Highway 564, some 80 kilometres southwest of the Town of Drumheller, and located across from an associated feedlot.
Prior to the meeting, Wheatland County administration had received two letters in support of the operation, and a total of 32 letters of concern-10 of these letters were addressed and scanned into record during the meeting.
Many of the letters cited concerns about odour and increased traffic in the area, as well as concerns regarding water supply and potential contamination.
Council chambers were heavily occupied with members of the public opposing the application. Applicants for the operation were also present and had requested to speak on behalf of the application; however, as the MPC had denied another applicant to speak at a previous meeting, the request was denied.
It was noted the abattoir received approval from Alberta Environments and Protected Areas (AEPA) in March of this year, and would be required to obtain a Safe Food for Canadians licensing from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Compared to other abattoir operations, such as those in Brooks and High River, this would be a much smaller operation, processing some 26,000 head annually-or about 100 head per day; significantly below the 4,200 and 4,500 head per day processed at Brooks and High River respectively.
Although the operation could provide some economic benefits to Wheatland County, MPC members did not feel the proposed location was the right fit due to the number of impacted landowners. Commissioner Scott Klassen noted there were a total of 72 residences within a two mile radius of the proposed location-of which, he added about 75 per cent of those impacted residents were in attendance at the meeting.
Other commissioners also noted they would have been more favourable to the proposed operation had the location been within an existing industrial area.
MPC voted to deny the application, with only one vote to approve the application.