Keywords:Waste Management Act – s.48; reconsideration of stay decision
This was a reconsideration of a decision of the Board to stay the application of a pollution abatement order issued by the Assistant Regional Waste Manager to The Straw Farm Ltd. to address air contaminants (odours) being released from its mushroom composting operation in Abbotsford. The Straw Farm appealed the order, and was granted a stay by the Board, pending the appeal. The Assistant Regional Waste Manager applied to have the stay reconsidered because the appeal hearing was rescheduled from June to September. The basis of the application was that the worst impact of the odours on neighbouring residents allegedly occurs during the spring and summer months. The Straw Farm opposed the application, and submitted that there had been no change in circumstances that would affect the previous stay decision of the Board.
The Board found that there was a serious issue to be tried, and that the Straw Farm would suffer irreparable harm if a stay was refused due to loss of sales and customers, which could result in permanent market loss or business failure. The Board also found that the balance of convenience favoured leaving the stay in place, as the harm to the Straw Farm outweighed the harm to the surrounding residents and the potential harm to the environment. However, in considering that the air contaminants were worse during the summer, and that previous corrective measures had been ineffective, the Board added a number of conditions to the stay that were designed to reduce the odours. The Board upheld its previous stay decision, with further conditions.