Residents kick up stink over dairy farm

  • Valter and Lidia Medeiros, owners of Green Land Dairy Farm (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Valter and Lidia Medeiros, owners of Green Land Dairy Farm (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

More than 20 people have kicked up a stink about a controversial dairy farm accused of polluting the atmosphere with bad smells and flies in less than a month.

But one of the farm’s owners insisted that “vast improvements” had been made.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said that 76 complaints had been logged against Green Land Dairy Farm in Smith’s since the middle of last month.

She added that the complaints — which related to the smell and flies from the Store Hill farm — were filed by 24 neighbours.

The spokeswoman was speaking after the Government issued a reminder this week that complaints about the farm from neighbours should be made online.

She said that the notice was issued after “persistent reports” about the smell of the property “which neighbours say interferes with use of their properties”.

The spokeswoman added: “Meetings are ongoing with the farmers and the neighbours.”

Local resident John-Paul Doughty said that he had logged “approximately six” complaints since December 15.

He said they were sparked by “the smell of sewage pertaining to animal waste and an incredible numbers of flies”.

Mr Doughty added: “It has been going on for close to two years now with no improvement.”

He placed blame for the smell on the property’s open manure pit.

Mr Doughty added: “I would like to see enforcement action and an inquest into why planning permission was granted for what is essentially an open sewer.”

Emma Leitch has made two complaints in the last two weeks.

Ms Leitch said that she filed both reports due to an “overwhelming and persistent stench” as her children played in the backyard.

She added: “It made me so nauseated that I had to bring the kids inside and close all my windows and doors.

“I could not stand to be outside in that smell.”

Ms Leitch agreed with Mr Doughty that the situation had not improved.

She added: “The pit of manure still exists. And while the smell isn’t constant, you know that a shift in the wind could bring it at any time, which makes it hard to plan outdoor events at our home.”

Ms Leitch said the online complaints form was a “good start” by Government.

But she added that residents needed to be updated on what steps the Government and the farm were taking to tackle complaints.

Ms Leitch said: “Ultimately, both the residents and the farmers deserve guidelines on what level of nuisance is and is not acceptable.

“Families’ rental incomes and housing values are being impacted because of decisions the new dairy owners made and they shouldn’t bear the costs of someone else’s business.”

Lidia and Valter Medeiros, who have owned the farm since 2014, have faced pressure to reduce the smell of manure.

Ms Medeiros said yesterday that “vast improvements” had been made. She added that the farm had been using enzymes since December 2017 that had “been doing a very effective job”.

Ms Medeiros said: “The intense ammonia odour has gone and now only a farm smell is experienced.”

She said that the manure pit was emptied “often”.

Ms Medeiros added: “We invite anyone to come to the farm, walk around the building and pit and I will guarantee you there is very little odour, no flies, and I haven’t seen one rat on my farm yet.”

She said that the farm had a “great relationship” with some of its closest neighbours.

Ms Medeiros added: “None of the consistent complainers have come to visit the farm to see and smell for themselves.

“There are a select few neighbours, and we know who they are, that are just continuing to exaggerate the smell until we are driven out.”

She said that the Government should be “ashamed” at the way it had handled the controversy.

Ms Medeiros added: “They should be helping the farmers on this island — instead they are acting on hearsay and online forms that can be manipulated to suit the individual’s agenda.”

She said that the Government had approached the farm with two ideas for the pit — but that neither was suitable.

Ms Medeiros added: “We can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a system for the pit but the farm will always smell — therefore neighbours will continue to complain.”

Residents with concerns about the farm can submit a report using the Farm Nuisance Report Form on the Government’s website at programme.

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Published Jan 12, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 12, 2019 at 7:50 am)

Residents kick up stink over dairy farm

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