Committee endorses abattoir for southwest London farm

London city councillors voted 13-2 in favor of the motion on Tuesday. 980 CFPL

Despite concerns from neighbours, city politicians have endorsed a staff recommendation to add a proposed abattoir to a farm in southwest London.

During a planning and environment committee meeting Monday afternoon, councillors debated the rezoning application for a two-hectare farm at 8076 Longwoods Rd. Its owner wants to open a livestock facility and a halal abattoir that would slaughter goats, sheep and lambs housed on site.

“I’ve heard loud and clearly, especially from the residents near the applicant, that they do not want an abattoir,” said Counc. Anna Hopkins, who represents the ward.

READ MORE: Halal slaughterhouse rezoning request sent back to London city staff

“In ward nine we have a vast amount of agricultural land, and I understand the importance of the agricultural community, and the importance of that business to the city as well,” she explained, adding the zoning amendment is a “planning matter in an agricultural zone.”

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The endorsement was passed unanimously by committee members, who said proper regulations would address a number of concerns neighbours have raised since the application was submitted.

“As I walked outside, BOOM! Like smacking into a brick wall, my senses were assaulted by that distinctive barn stench,” said Matt Millar, owner of Millar Berry Farms, in an e-mail to AM980.

The farm is roughly one kilometre east of the property in question, and Millar Berry has raised issues around dead animals they’ve seen left on the property, along with concerns about contaminated groundwater for nearby homes on well water.

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“The holding provisions that have been identified here do provide the neighbourhood with a sense of involvement,” said Mayor Matt Brown.

“[They] also should provide some assurances that many of the concerns that have been raised in the past about how this site is functioning, will not be permitted to happen in the future because of the requirements.”

Under current zoning regulations, livestock are not permitted on the property. The owner was charged by city bylaw last year for having livestock, and is due in court next month.

City staff have suggested the abattoir and livestock facility are appropriate land uses within the agricultural designation and existing bylaws will ensure it’s appropriately maintained.

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Council will have the final say next week.