Residents in the west end of town have been complaining since January about an odour—an odour so distinct it was clear in their minds it had to be coming from the newly expanded and upgraded sewage treatment plant along the river.
Not so, said the town, in a story that appeared on the front page of the Daily Bulletin on Jan. 21. Rather, fingers were being pointed at the mill here and in International Falls, as well as the sewage treatment plant across the river.
Even the Ministry of the Environment seemed to be saying “what smell.” An environmental officer with the MoE’s office in Kenora said he hadn’t heard a word or a complaint from anyone, and that the plant wasn’t emanating a thing when he had been there the day before while a digester was being emptied.
Well, it turns out the “mysterious” odour wasn’t such a mystery after all, with the town admitting yesterday it could have been the source of the smell all along. More galling, though, is that the town probably knew this since last fall when construction started on a new aerobic digester to compensate for the anaerobic one that, according to the town, couldn’t handle the capacity it was supposed to.
Word the problem is being fixed is good (even though it’s behind schedule and may now take until August). So, too, is reports the treatment plant itself is exceeding its licence requirements.
But the town should have come clean when grumblings over a bad odour first surfaced at least three months ago. Neighbouring residents had a right to know this information up front, and taxpayers a right to know what the cause of the problem was and what it’s going to cost to fix.
Instead, we were treated to yet another example of the “deny everything/admit nothing” mentality that’s much too prevalent around the Civic Centre.
And that is what irks everyone most.