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.
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.
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