Deloraine-Winchester approves hog operation

·3 min read

Plans are moving forward with a new HyLife Foods hog operation south of Deloraine.

The Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester council voted 5-2 in favour of the proposed operation at a public hearing on June 20.

During the event, residents had a chance to voice their concerns or their support for the project, called Markers Mark, which will be located about four and a half miles southwest of Deloraine, which is located 112 kilometres southwest of Brandon. The proposed operation would be located on a multiplier site with four barns. One barn would house 3,750 nursery hogs, and three finishing barns would have 7,600 more.

People opposed to the hog operation raised the issues of smell, manure management and the proximity of the operation to the community, while those who voiced their support brought up economic benefits and possible job opportunities for the area.

Council later approved HyLife’s application, conditional upon the execution of a development agreement with the RM.

Reeve Gord Weidenhamer was in favour of the hog operation. He said that most of the concerns regarding it were brought up by the community’s retired citizens. Despite this, Weidenhamer said in a phone interview that the operation will have a positive impact on the area. He noted that several benefits included job opportunities and easing the tax burden of area residents.

“We’ve communicated with other rural municipalities and have seen the economic impact, and felt there were more advantages. That’s why we decided to move forward … hopefully it’s an advantage for our community’s future.”

Weidenhamer said HyLife communicated that the operation, once up and running, would provide four full-time jobs to the area. More employment opportunities would also be available during the construction phase of the plan, something Weidenhamer said would also greatly benefit the RM.

“It could take from 10 months up to a year [to build the site], and there could be in excess of 50 tradespeople moving through the community, using the restaurants and facilities.”

Still, the RM has several important stipulations it expects HyLife to concede to them. These include a lagoon cover to deal with any odour from the operation, road infrastructure maintenance throughout the lifetime of the operation, shelter belts and more.

Amanda Burger, Boissevain’s community and economic development co-ordinator, said she agrees that the proposed hog barn operation will be a good thing for the area. For the short term, the construction project will bring more people to the RM, while the long-term benefits could be far-reaching.

“We hope that this is just a jump-off, and that maybe there will be more hog barns in the future in our area.”

While she acknowledged that there are people who don’t approve of the venture, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

“For us, as a rural community, it’s always an advantage if there is the opportunity for more job creation, maybe more children in school. Our housing market, in the last few months, has actually gotten a huge kick, and we’re all very excited about that.”

HyLife held an open house for residents of the municipality on Jan. 5 to gauge public feedback for the project. The cost of the facility is anticipated to total between $8 million and $10 million.

The Brandon Sun reached out several times to HyLife but did not receive a reply by press time.

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun

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