By Kathy Bly
For the Sunny South News
Faced with a complaint against a local business, Picture Butte town council has sided with the business noting it is operating in compliance with the town’s bylaws. The town received a letter from Kevin and Jenna McLeod who live near the town’s industrial area over the operation of Putsy’s Manure Hauling. The letter outlines issues such as flies and odour from parked manure spreading vehicles. The letter also raised concerns about the health risks that could arise from being in close contact with these vehicles. The letter was also signed by seven residents living in the same area.
Mayor Wendy Jones said according to the town’s bylaw enforcement officer the business is running properly under the town’s bylaws. The site has been inspected on a number of occasions and has always met with the conditions of its business licence.
Under the licence, the company is not allowed to store manure on site and they are not allowed to wash their trucks on site.
Mayor Jones noted there are a dozen or more cattle liners parked in the industrial area on a daily basis and are probably the source of any odour.
Coun. Cathy Moore noted she lives directly across from the business and has not had an issue with odor. She said the business has complied with the restrictions the town has put on the operation. “I don’t see where she’s coming from, I don’t smell it,” said Moore, of the complaint.
She also noted she has spoken with some of the residents who signed the letter and learned a couple of them weren’t sure what they were signing and don’t have a problem with the business.
Coun. Teresa Feist said she has also walked through the area and the smell is not coming from the hauling business but from the cattle liners. “Putsy’s has been very accommodating and has done everything that has been asked of them,” reported Larry Davidson, chief administrative officer.
He said Picture Butte is an agricultural community and it’s hard to avoid the smells associated with it.
Deputy Mayor Joe Watson said he also lives adjacent to the business and doesn’t have a problem with how it operates. He also noted, it is not a year-round operation.
Council directed administration to write a letter to the complainants with the information collected noting the business is in compliance with the town’s bylaws.
Also, a raw water line serving a pair of feedlots outside of Picture Butte will remain flowing until the spring of 2016. Picture Butte town council agreed to put aside plans to discontinue the line in order to allow the feedlots to put alternate plans in place before the line is shut off.
Council had previously decided to shut off the flow of water in two rural water lines after it was determined water agreements were not being honoured by rural users.
At the June 8 meeting of council, a motion was passed to shut off the raw water line that serves county users and to discontinue this service to any resident outside of the town’s boundaries. The decision was made after a report from administration indicated fees for the water have not been paid and attempts by the town to contact users have not been successful.
In July, the town received a payment from Vandenberg Feeders, which was returned given the council’s decision to terminate the raw water line. Larry Davidson, chief administrative officer, reported he met with Rex Vandenberg at the end of August and learned his feeding operation uses the town’s line from mid-October to early May when water is not accessible through the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District. He said Vandenberg Feeders currently has a licence for 4,000 cattle in the feedlot, as well as a 250 sow operation.
Davidson noted Boonco Feeders also has access to water through the same line from which Vandenberg Feeders draws their winter water but to date he has not been able to meet with them to discuss the water issue.
With only two months of water storage in his dug out, Vandenberg has asked the town to allow him to continue to draw water from the raw water line until May of 2016 at a fee of $10,000.
Davidson noted there are plans in place for an alternative water source for Vandenberg Feeders that will likely come into play next year.
He said Vandenberg has plans to expand his dugout to allow for long-term water storage.
Davidson said he hopes to draw up a legal agreement between the town and both feedlots to cover their need for water until next spring.
Council agreed to delay plans to shut off the water and allow the town to enter into an agreement with the two county water users.