Calgary mayor taking a kick at city’s cowboy heritage

Naheed Nenshi is trying to block a cattle-processing plant just north of the city limits from re-opening

Purchase Calgary mayor taking a kick at city’s cowboy heritage

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CALGARY, AB April 1, 2015 /Troy Media/ – It’s hard to believe, but Naheed Nenshi, mayor of “Cowtown,” is exasperating the very industry that established his city – the cattle business.

This is the same city that brashly exploits its cowboy heritage with its Calgary Stampede. The target of the mayor’s wrath is a cattle-processing plant just north of the city limits in Rocky View County. He is demanding a scientific study of noise, odour and air quality that might come from the plant before it is re-opened. His concern is the health and quality of life of the citizens of Northeast Calgary, an area he also happens to live in.

What’s Calgary mayor’s real agenda?

There is more to the story, of course.

This meat processing plant has been there for a number of years and has received the necessary operating permits from Rocky View County.

It processed live cattle for a year, and then processed just carcasses. Now, it is under new management and wants to resume live cattle processing.

The plant has undergone a $20-million retrofit, and there are plans to reduce nuisance impacts to pre-opening levels. It will also create 300 new jobs, which the mayor neglected to mention.

When the plant was processing live cattle, few complained, and no one noticed when they stopped processing cattle. That may have to do with the fact that the meat plant is located across the road from a sulphur processing plant, which spews tons of emissions into the air through its smokestacks.

Nenshi’s concern about noise is curious. After all, the plant is located within sight of the airport, and within earshot of Stoney Trail and QE 2 highway.

Noise from aircraft landing and taking off and the passing by of thousands of vehicles could drown out a bomb going off in the area, never mind a few mooing cattle.

calgary mayor
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi
Shame on you Mr. Mayor

Again, there’s more to this story. The city has a long and negative history with this facility, and it seems city politicians and planners are too eager to seek revenge on this plant, which has snubbed its nose at them so successfully.

Initially, the city tried to block this plant from being built at all – but the original builders decided to relocate just across the city limits. Then, when the city refused to connect the plant to city water, the builders thwarted the plan by putting in a water line from an irrigation canal. Clearly, the city has had it in for this plant and this is just another chance for revenge.

You can expect the mayor and city bureaucrats to use every scheming angle to make life miserable for the new owners of the plant, hoping they will give up and go away. One almost hopes a study is done on Northeast Calgary air quality so that local citizens might be shocked to find they are living in a haze of carbon monoxide and sulphur fumes.

The mayor isn’t writing letters of protest to anyone about those pollutants. That causes one to wonder if there have been scientific studies done on other noise and odour-producing businesses in Calgary and the effect on area residents. People in the Northeast aren’t the only ones living near industrial activity. Livestock – including poultry – are processed in other facilities within Calgary’s city limits. The city has foundries and landfills within sight of residential neighbourhoods. What about those poor, long-suffering citizens? Doesn’t the mayor care about them?

One would hope that Nenshi would have some understanding of the cattle industry and see that the marketing and processing of cattle is critical. Steaks don’t grow magically at the local grocery store; they come from meat-processing facilities like the one he wants to block from opening.

His attack on a sector of the industry that is so critical to the livelihood of Alberta cattle producers is shameful.

Calgary mayor should be ashamed

How can Nenshi, in good conscience, speak every year, since becoming Mayor, at the Old Time Range Men’s Dinner – the annual gathering of Alberta’s ranching industry establishment? At that event, he expounds on the positive contribution of the cattle industry to Calgary’s economy and history.

Perhaps with his recent comments against the most critical marketing component of the cattle industry, he is showing that politics and revenge are more important than the very industry that established Calgary. Shame on the mayor.

Will Verboven writes on agricultural issues for Troy Media.

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