July 15, 1999
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Three cabinet ministers met yesterday to listen to the concerns of opponents of a proposed hog farm in Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, at the request of Premier Bernard Lord.
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Milt Sherwood, Environment Minister Kim Jardine and Percy Mockler, Solicitor General and Minister of Human Resources Development and Housing met with a coalition of concerned citizens from the Sainte-Marie-de-Kent region. The coalition included Gerry Mazerolle, president of the Committee Against Hog Factories; Rachelle Richard-Collette, Bouctouche Bay Ecotourism; Bouctouche mayor Raymond Duplessis; and Millie Augustine, representing local First Nations in the region.
"The representatives of this group had an opportunity to air their concerns about environmental impact, protection of the area's watershed, the impact on their quality of life and their perceived lack of transparency with the whole process," Sherwood said. "They asked us for detailed information about the project, particularly in regard to the manure nutrient management plan which is a big component of the new Livestock Operations Act licencing process."
Sherwood said the ministers agreed to investigate the concerns raised by the group and meet again to discuss them with the coalition.
"We take their concerns very seriously," Jardine said. "We agreed to expand the review process already under way and to further involve other agencies and interests."
The proposed hog farm is situated three kilometres from Sainte-Marie-de-Kent in a rural area. The developer, Gunther Metz, is proposing to grow out 10,000 hogs, three times a year, at the site. He plans to spread the manure, a valuable fertilizer, on farm fields in the area.
The hog operation is the first farm to apply for a licence under the new Livestock Operations Act which came into force earlier this year.
This act applies terms and conditions to the siting of the livestock facility and manure storage. It also spells out the design and construction of manure storage facilities comparable to the Department of Environment's guidelines for human sewage lagoons.
The act applies strict conditions to the management of the manure produced through the preparation of, and compliance with a manure nutrient management plan. It also imposes other conditions related to minimizing environmental risk and nuisance.
The ministers plan to meet in the near future with the coalition representatives following the provision of additional information and completion of consultations with additional federal and provincial agencies. They will also meet with the proponent before making any final decisions.
MEDIA CONTACT: John White, communications, Agriculture and Rural Development, 506- 453-5451.