Everything Redolent Of RE Prices – “You spend $1-million on a house, you don’t want it to smell like fish”

“You spend $1-million on a house, you don’t want it to smell like fish,” East Vancouver resident Lenore Newman told Postmedia News this week.

As a late-summer heat wave bathes Vancouver with the stench of rotting compost and chicken parts, municipal officials have set to work drafting plans to rein in the city’s rankest offenders. …
“It’s kind of a chickeny, fishy, boiled-up stink,” said a Wednesday caller to Vancouver’s CKNW radio. “You don’t want to be at home at all,” East Vancouver resident Renata de la Parra told a CTV camera crew. Previous accounts have identified the smell as anything from “hideous” to “revolting” to “a combination between vomit and diarrhea.”
Despite the breakdown, West Coast Reduction’s signature stench is nothing new. As the region’s primary animal waste processing facility, it brings in truckloads of animal parts and used grease every day to cook them into tallow and protein meals. Notoriously, the plant is also where serial killer Robert Pickton admitted to disposing of barrels containing the remains of his victims.
The plant began spewing foul odours onto adjacent working-class homes almost immediately after its 1964 opening. At the time, the plant only generated a paltry 25 complaints a year.
Things have not gotten worse. It’s just a matter that expectations have changed
By 2007, residents in the newly gentrified district were picking up the phone almost twice a day to complain, urged on by “stop the stink” posters pinned up on utility poles. “You spend $1-million on a house, you don’t want it to smell like fish,” East Vancouver resident Lenore Newman told Postmedia News this week.
“Things have not gotten worse,” Ray Robb, Metro Vancouver’s manager of regulation and enforcement, told Vancouver radio on Wednesday. “It’s just a matter that expectations have changed.”

– from ‘Can Vancouver’s anti-stink bylaw pass the smell test?’, National Post, 16 Aug 2012

In most cities, you’d be complaining of the smell.
In Vancouver, you complain of the smell:RE_price ratio.
– vreaa

As oneangryslav2 [at VCI 17 Aug 2012 3:17pm] points out, the Post story is a little misleading. Lenore Newman is both an East Van resident and a professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, a ‘researcher in food security and the environment’. One would reasonably assume from the article above that she was a house owner, but she herself posted the following [Apophenia, The Province, 10:51AM 15 Aug 2012]:
“…I should clarify that they edited what I said. I don’t own a house there, I rent, but I commented that the high housing prices are likely why people are complaining more. But if we get down to it, the plant is the newcomer; Commercial Drive is one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, and the rendering plant arrived in 1960 during a period when the area was in decline and big business ruled the roost. If you read my blog, Sand and Feathers, you will see that I’m not actually against the plant, though it is becoming clear that they need to bring their technology up to modern standards. And in case people are wondering, I wouldn’t buy a house in East Van, or Vancouver in general; too expensive for what you get. But I understand why people who work hard to buy into the market expect a 2012 level of environmental protection.”

“I wouldn’t buy a house in East Van, or Vancouver in general; too expensive for what you get.”
Bravo, Lenore; agreed.
Another example of the increasing tendency for sensible RE-bearish sentiment to be stated plainly and publicly.
– vreaa

On the bracing subject of odours, the following links regarding air quality around a well known condo development (Marine Gateway) near the ‘Vancouver South Transfer Station’ (‘Dump’) forwarded to us by Aldus Huxtable:
1. ‘Addressing Waste Transfer Station Odour’, marinegateway.ca ,
2. ‘Dispersion Modelling of Vancouver South Transfer Station Odour Emissions’, RWDI, Dec 2009

16 responses to “Everything Redolent Of RE Prices – “You spend $1-million on a house, you don’t want it to smell like fish”

  1. Wild guess here, marine gateway is going to go for the cheaper “dilution is the solution to pollution” method and put in stacks vs. scrubber. Regardless, I hope that the strata fees from gateway pay the 40k per year operating costs and the taxpayer is not burdened. If the taxpayer is paying, They mightl go with the 250k/yr scrubber.

    “welcome to marine gateway, you can’t smell the $hit but for $hizzle you’re inhaling it!

  2. The wonderful smells emanating from Richmond would make even the most learned cheese gourmand consider his options.

    Think of rendering smells as keeping life real. This isn’t Bhopal.

  3. This is so far out that it’s comical. A professor quoted and misconstrued by the media, foul odour lines plotted in two dimensions, condo horniness, and a Pickton reference. It’s like a Douglas Coupland farce but it’s not fictional. Since I’m a renter and not planning on staying in Vancouver past my degree completion date, I enjoy sitting back and watching the shitshow happen. BPOE indeed.

  4. Isn’t Marine Gateway another one of those next Yaletowns?

  5. My ride to work every morning takes me through east van, along the Frances/Adanac bike route. Over the last 3 weeks, I have noticed a persistent smell at various points along the route – between Commercial and Clark, and in the area near Templeton high school – that reminds me of rotting garbage. This morning I had to hold my breath for several blocks just to avoid gagging, it was horrible.

    I’ve been riding that route for the past 10 years or so, and this is the first time I remember the smell being this bad – except for during a prolonged garbage strike several years ago. Something seems to be going on in that area, that was not going on weeks or months ago….

  6. Hah, we occassionally get stories about the new gentry who move out to the country to get a few acres, for the “peace and quiet” or whatever and end up complaining about the smell of cattle, noise of roosters, and dust of tractors. There was at least one rural county in my state which eventually printed up a flyer saying “This is what to expect when you move to the country…” Hee hee.

  7. And you thought Vancouver was… ‘Special’, DearReaders? Hah!

    “If we are going to be a WORLD CLASS CITY [NoteToEd: Sorry about the AllCaps, every now and again the punctuation just has a mind of its own]… Ah… We cannot have the DownTown filled with odours from a rendering plant.” – Bruce Gerleman, Des Moines, Iowa Restauranteur

    • Yikes! Shocking poor scholarship […or simply bad manners? I normally allow IllustriousEd to make those JudgementCalls]… Viz. an error ‘o omission.

      In ‘StinkyDesMoines’, 800Large and change will buy you one of these…


  8. A downwind resident of the rendering plant, I consider the smell pine-scented yuppie disinfectant.

  9. Price is what you pay, value is what you get. — Warren Buffett

  10. A number of years ago, Charlie Smith had a feature in The Georgia Straight about the dwindling stock of industrial land in the City of Vancouver, and why it was a problem. I think the article was exploring the possible fate of the False Creek Flats. What Smith, and others, were pointing out is that big cities need land for all the operations that big cities require in order to function. What does it cost to do routine maintenance on residential housing stock, and how much are the trades charging, if all the plumbing, electrical, and building supplies are forced to outer Surrey, and everything has to be driven for an hour or more before it can be installed in a downtown condo?

    Regarding West Coast Reduction, they provide a variety of services that the population of the Lower Mainland require, including commercial cooking oil disposal and recycling. Think of that next time you chomp into a burger and fries. According to Brian Brett, author of Trauma Farm, a book about his life running a small farm on Salt Spring Island, the cottage lamb industry on the island has collapsed because a new regulatory structure that requires the innards from slaughtered lambs be trucked to Alberta for disposal — at West Coast Reduction’s dedicated ruminant facilities in that province — has made lamb production too costly for small operators. Get rid of the facility on Burrard Inlet and what does that mean for local organic chicken and pork, and the recent locavore and 100-mile-diet movements? What about local fish processing? I understand the smell can sometimes be unpleasant for residents in the immediate area, depending on the time of year and weather conditions, but ironically, that’s the smell of life, not death. Resort towns probably work very hard to eliminate or mask all odours, and in the process eliminate all people below a certain income level.

    • Whoops, didn’t mean to imply that all people below a certain income level smell. (!) Should have had my coffee before I started typing…

      I assume readers understand my meaning — removing all industry and the nasty business of life in order to create an artificially pristine environment is a process typically associated with wealth. Apparently zoning bylaws prevent backyard clotheslines in parts of the West Side of the city, while they’re just fine on the East Side. (So much for the ‘greenest city’ rhetoric.) Wealth doesn’t want to see, or smell, the muck upon which their wealth is based. Room at the Top, and all that.

      • Whether interpreted literally or figuratively… your thesis requires no further explication…

        On the other side of the ZeroSum equation (or should that be the ‘LaundryLine DeMilitarizedZone’)… CollateralDamage abounds:

        [CBC] – Salvation Army needs school supply donations

        The B.C. Salvation Army says demand for its back to school charitable program has more than doubled in the past two years.


  11. To paraphrase the ThreadLeader… when you buy something fishy, don’t be surprised if doesn’t pass the ‘SmellTest’… DearReaders, here’s your Quote ‘O TheDay…

    “The sales have been fantastic and our revenues have been well sustained!… but the market is slowing.” – Penny Ballem, Vancouver City Manager

    [G&M] – Olympic village rebranding pays off, but debts remain

    …”The city still had $462-million listed as its debt for the village at the end of 2011. Ms. Ballem said it’s still too early to say whether the city will lose money .

    Although there were $157-million in condo sales between November, 2010 and June, 2012, and another $8-million in rental income was banked, the city only got $114-million after expenses were paid, according to the receivers’ report.

    [and Nem’s personal favourite] As another incentive, to get commercial tenants to move in and help animate the village, the city lowered the property taxes for those parcels.”…


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