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Winnipeg composter never 'bullied' — the public and gov't were

Composting is something we want to support, and an industry that most people want to grow. This is exactly why it’s so critical that players in this industry—like Samborski—attempt to set a good example, and not take the ostrich-approach, with head firmly buried in compost heap


Samborksi. Samborksi. Samborksi. I almost feel “bullied” myself—to take a word from the compost owner’s recent playbook—for simply having this company name come up again and again, after continually failing to comply with order after order to clean up its smelly composting act.taxmanO7

Well, the final act may be upon us; the compost curtain closing, if you will, for this company just southwest of Winnipeg.

As I alluded to, the company’s GM said he felt “bullied,” when just last month, Manitoba environment officials executed a search warrant on the premises to track down any offending compost piles. Ongoing testing and whatnot.

In fact, if anyone in this community was bullied, it’s not the company, but the hundreds of people who filed odour complaints about the facility, only to have the issue remain unresolved for going on a decade. Since 2009 alone, there have been some 500 odour complaints.

While I’m not often one to be sympathetic towards government, yes, the government in this case was bullied too, not Samborski Environmental Ltd. For eight (ish) years, this company has skirted the issue time and time again, ignoring, appealing, or who knows what, really.

I actually contacted the company myself a couple of times over the last two years for comment on this “stinky” issue that seemingly can’t be resolved. I experienced the same thing as most citizens and government have—radio silence.

This lack of response and action doesn’t give one the right to feel bullied when the jig is finally up.

The GM joked to CBC News, making light of the “search warrant”, terminology that nobody would ever want to be part of their day. He said, “I don’t know what they’re looking for or if they’re looking for a cache of weapons, or nuclear weapons or what, I mean, we’re a soil dealer.”

Yes, true: A soil dealer. But does it really come as a surprise that after so many years of ignoring an issue—despite claims that you’ve resolved it—that the words search warrant have entered your life experience? It’s like someone complaining that the taxman is bullying them after they haven’t paid taxes for eight years.

It’s hard to be sympathetic.

Currently, provincial officials are taking certain Samborksi compost material to a properly licensed location, at a cost upwards of $500,000. The GM is calling it “theft.”

The composting company says it’s tried to find alternative locations, but it’s never moved. I’m unsure how seriously they’ve ever taken any aspect of this issue, always seemingly hoping it will go away.

Undoubtedly, there are nuances to this issue only understood by Samborski employees, the surrounding residents, and perhaps some select government officials. But the ball has always been in Samborski’s court to come out on top of this issue. I’m unclear about what their long-term plan actually is, or now, perhaps “was.”

This is a sensitive issue. Composting is something we want to support, and an industry that most people want to grow. Obviously. This is exactly why it’s so critical that players in this industry—like Samborski—attempt to set a good example, and not take the ostrich-approach, with head firmly buried in compost heap.


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