The citizens' group HogWatch Manitoba made an official presentation to the RM council two week ago, It claimed the barn owner, Wim Verbruggen had built a bigger barn housing more animals than the rules allowed. A Hogwatch official, Ruth Pryzner, suggested it be shut down because it had deprived any concerned resident the right to be heard. She also feared he may have to spread the waste on fields in winter, which is illegal. That's because he apparently has not expanded his storage capacity to take care of the waste from the barn.
But, following a council meeting today, Mayor Don Yanick told PinP, Verbruggen still maintains he is not keeping more animals than he should (He claims it is 297, not the 300 or more he is alleged to be). The Mayor says the RM will ask some independent person to look into the situation to confirm who is right before deciding on any further action. Despite the controversy, the Mayor says he would not be opposed to one or two more barns in the region in the future.
After serving for several terms in that position, Yanick is not seeking re-election in the civic elections later this month.
Hogwatch has not yet commented on this latest development. But its position has already been,“If the Yellowhead Council refuses to take the strongest enforcement action possible, choosing instead to try and bring the operator into compliance with the law, rural people and the environment are in big trouble as the hog industry expands across the Province. Failures in the livestock approval system have broad implications for how hog barn expansion will proceed in the future under the Pallister government's direction,” Pryzner concluded.
For more background please read: "Busted! A citizens' group exposes an illegal hog operation in southwestern Manitoba. (An illustrated text version.)"