Reader encourages RM of Keys council to say no to the ILO

I understand that at its regular council meeting on June 19, our RM of Keys council will consider the granting of discretionary use approval for the intensive livestock operation (ILO) to be located on E ½ 33-33-03 W2.  Here are five solid reasons why council should say “no” to this ILO:

1. In exercising its discretion, council is to act in the best interests of the electors and the community that are affected by its decisions. On June 4, in excess of 700 signatures were provided to Sask. Ag. where members of this community specifically stated that an ILO should not be located over the Empress and Falcon Lake aquifers.

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2. A proper manure management plan is a requirement, and the developer proposes to spread manure over nine quarters of land on a three-year cycle. These land parcels are either directly beside neighboring farmsteads or are within ½ to ¾ of a mile from Stoney Creek or the Assiniboine River. Further, natural runoff from the ILO site will empty into Stoney Creek.

3. The consultant’s report filed by the developer states that dugouts (used by neighboring farms to water cattle and other livestock) do not fill only from runoff, but that the dugout levels rise and fall as do the water tables in the area. This means that if these dugouts through runoff become contaminated by the spread of manure and drainage from the ILO, the subsurface water table will also be affected.

4. The consultant’s report filed by the developer states that rainfall and run off from the ILO and the spread of manure will not be a concern. During the week of June 4, however, following a rainfall of 2 1/2 inches, a water flow of three to four feet in width ran off the proposed ILO site into Stoney Creek. This creek runs adjacent to the Keys First Nation and no consultation has been undertaken with the First Nation by the developer, the RM or the Provincial Ministry, which under federal and provincial laws and guidelines is a requirement.

5. The normal mortality of chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks will involve up to 10,000 dead birds continuously composting in an external pit which will emit odour, and attract flies and rodents. This ILO location is too close in proximity to the Village of Stenen and the recreational community of Crystal Lake, and drainage from this mortality pit also flows directly into Stoney Creek.

The proposal to locate the ILO on E ½ 33-33-03 W2 is dependent upon Bylaw 03-2018 being approved by the Ministry of Gov’t. Relations, which has not occurred. Further the developer’s Manure Management Plan and Mortality Management Plan have yet to be approved by Sask. Ag.

For the reasons stated, (and there are several others), our council should say “no” in the exercise of its discretion. Our community has clearly made its views known with the 700 signatures provided to Sask. Ag. and our council, in representing our interests, should act in the same manner.

If council is not prepared to do this, then at the very least, any consideration of the discretionary use application should be deferred until it is known that the provincial approvals for the developer’s proposal to locate on E ½ 33-33-03 W2 will be forthcoming.  After all, why would our council provide its approval, if its provincial counterparts are not prepared to do so?