Residents angry as farm continues to smell

  • Causing a stink: cows at Green Land Dairy Farm (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Causing a stink: cows at Green Land Dairy Farm (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A farm that raised a stink among its neighbours has started to clean up its act.

However, some residents living near Green Land Dairy Farm in Smith’s insisted that the work was too little, too late.

One, from Store Hill, said that most neighbours believed the problem remained unresolved.

He said: “Residents are still complaining that the smell created by the manure pit, and the spreading of the manure, persists.

“There are also related problems, not least the pigeons, which are attracted by the feed in the open barn, and flock in large numbers to roost on neighbouring rooftops, potentially contaminating drinking water and making a mess in one neighbour’s swimming pool.”

The neighbour said it had been “difficult to engage in a meaningful dialogue” with the farm’s owners, Valter and Lidia Medeiros.

He added that nearby residents also wanted confirmation that planning conditions and health regulations attached to the development had met compliance.

The 13-acre farm came under attack at a public meeting organised by the Department of Environmental Health last month, when angry local residents threatened the farm’s owners with legal action.

Mr and Ms Medeiros said they were shocked at the level of complaints and promised action, while an environmental health spokeswoman said its team “remains in frequent contact with the farm’s operators and is monitoring progress”.

She added: “Remedial actions have been taken with improvement noted. Stakeholders, including neighbours, will receive an update on progress from environmental health in the new year.”

Shaun Don, a 33-year resident of the area, said: “Nothing has changed and that’s the most irritating thing. I’ve lived here all my life, and this has been happening the last 16 months. It’s unbearable, you can’t go outside when it’s damp.”

In addition to the foul smell, neighbours complained of flies, pigeons and rats.

A Facebook site set up for the area includes posts of sick and dying birds after poison control efforts.

The farm’s operators declined to comment yesterday.

Smith’s MP Michael Dunkley, of the One Bermuda Alliance said he had checked the farm at least every two days.

Mr Dunkley said: “I’ve seen some improvement. They have emptied the manure pit to a very low level.

“They have put enzymes in the pit and are working with environmental health to cover the pit and vent it. There has been slow progress but obviously some neighbours will still smell something.”

Concerned residents hired Bermuda Environmental Consulting to suggest remedial measures at the farm, which could include the installation of a bio digester treatment plant.

It is understood that another town hall meeting for local residents will be held this month.

Mr and Ms Medeiros bought Green Land from the Bermuda Government on a 25-year lease in 2014 and told residents in November that they had brought the farm back from the brink.

Ms Medeiros told the November meeting that the farm had been “totally dilapidated”.

She added: “The cows lived in mud, the runoff went down on to the trails. We stopped that.”

One neighbour said she sympathised with the couple “in the sense that they do believe that they are doing the right thing for the cows”.

She added: “They also were granted planning permission, although that never should have happened, and so invested a great deal into their business.

“That said, they are showing no regard for the people that live in the near proximity and are only doing so now that it is being forced on them.”

Mr Dunkley said the farm owners needed to continue to work “to make sure the improvements are long-lasting and acceptable”.

He said: “I sympathise. I want it sustainable. For those people who are still concerned, I would like to hear from them. I’m not going to let this one slip by.”

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Published Jan 4, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 3, 2018 at 11:00 pm)

Residents angry as farm continues to smell

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