New compost site for Manitoba garden supply company raises new stink for owner

A garden supply company that had to leave its Winnipeg-area location because its compost operation was deemed a foul-smelling nuisance is back in business, but is also in some legal trouble.

Samborski Environmental Ltd., is in a legal dispute with the Rural Municipality of Macdonald over its business, now located just south of the Perimeter Highway but still in the RM.

Some city residents are complaining about the smell from its compost and the rodents it’s attracting.

The company moved to the new site after its original location was raided by provincial officials in February and tonnes of organic matter was carted away following years of complaints from area homeowners.

The municipality says Samborski is operating illegally, and it’s waiting for a court to rule on an injunction to shut the compost down.

Manitoba Conservation has repeatedly rejected a permit application from Samborski on the grounds that it’s an illegal operation.

Samborski re-established its compost operation on four hectares of land about five kilometres to the south, opposite the city’s Brady Road landfill.

Co-owner Lenn Samborski said he’s done nothing wrong at the new location, adding that the RM and the province are refusing to acknowledge he’s legally operating under the terms of a development agreement from 1990.

“We’re being made to look like criminals,” Samborski said. “The RM and Manitoba Conservation are so in the wrong here and we’re paying the price for it.”

Samborski said he expects to be vindicated and allowed to operate without interference.

RM Councillor Janice Lukes said she’s frustrated with the situation and fears Samborski will run circles around local and provincial officials in a repeat of the scenario that played out over several years before the province took action last winter.

Lukes also said she’s had a “ton of calls” about the smell from the site.

“I did a walk-through last weekend — it just reeks. People are dumping garbage there.”

The province had received more than 500 complaints about excessive odour against Samborski between 2010 and the start of this year. In 2013, the province issued an environmental order to have the compost material removed from his former site and ultimately was forced to remove the material itself.

Samborski said he’s operating the same type of operation he had before — a compost site with organic kitchen waste from area restaurants that he converts into soil compost and sells to gardeners.

He also can’t believe anyone would complain about the smell from the compost when his neighbour across the road is the city-owned, 890-hectare landfill.

“Our operation is a pimple on the back of an elephant compared to the (Brady) landfill.

 

The Winnipeg Sun / The Canadian Press

 

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