Abbatoire info session
Major concerns addressed at public meeting
About 75 people attended a question and answer meeting concerning the new slaughterhouse project in Shawville, April 30, at the Shawville RA Hall. The meeting was organized by the municipality and the project’s owners in order to promote transparency after some citizens protested the project at a council meeting in early April.
The owners present were Alain Lauzon, a Quyon sheep farmer and businessperson, Sofiane El Ketroussi, an agronomist with experience in slaughterhouse operations, and Ibrahima Daigne, an Aylmer resident with experience in banking and bookkeeping. Jeffrey Machan of the Ministry of the Economy, Science and Innovation (MESI) moderated the meeting.
After opening remarks by Shawville Mayor Sandra Murray and MRC Pontiac Warden Jane Toller who noted that agriculture is a major industry in the Pontiac and a priority for the MRC Lauzon explained the whole project, giving details about the building’s construction and operation.
A document provided answers to common concerns, including land zoning, environmental hazards, cost of wastewater treatment and disposal, impact on the local economy, advantages for local producers and job opportunities.
Lauzon explained that he and the other owners have invested their own money in the slaughterhouse, and that all government loans will have to be paid back, except for $45,000 used for a feasibility study. The slaughterhouse site is zoned for light manufacturing, not agriculture, and all specifications for the plant are in full compliance with provincial and federal norms.
Animals arriving at the plant will be unloaded inside the building, minimizing noise and odour. Unused animal by-products will be refrigerated and shipped elsewhere to be used in things such as pet food.
Large pieces of animal waste will be removed mechanically from sewer water and enzymes will treat the fat contained in it. Lauzon noted that all equipment installed at the plant will be new and will conform to rigid standards.
At start-up, the slaughterhouse will retail meat to Montréal and Québec City, but once federal licensing is obtained, the owners will be able to expand to sell Pontiac meat all over Canada. The audience was reminded that hunters will be able to bring wild game to the plant for butchering. However, hogs will not be slaughtered at the location because the facility would lose its Halal certification.
A number of local farmers informed the crowd that the slaughterhouse will make their operations more profitable by reducing transportation costs. Other residents noted that the project will create new jobs at the slaughterhouse – about a dozen at start-up - and also on area farms due to a ripple effect.
Warden Toller concluded by saying residents should continue monitoring the progress of the project. Like many others, she wished it much success.