NEWS

Cattle battle in million-dollar homes planning dispute finally over in Saanich, B.C.

06/01/2015 06:04 EDT | Updated 06/01/2016 05:59 EDT
There is some moo-vement in a two-year standoff between a Saanich, B.C., property owner who wants to develop his lot, and neighbours complaining that living cheek-by-jowl with 80 cows has become unbearable.

The dispute began in 2013 after owner Don Alberg was turned down — for a second time — by Saanich council on his proposal to develop his Gordon Head area property into a dozen or more houses.

Alberg turned the land into a feedlot, with as many as 80 cattle in just over 1.5 hectares, nestled next to million-dollar homes.

Complaints from neighbours followed about the "dreadful stench."

"The biggest thing at this time of year when it's dry is fecal dust ... it just flies around," said Mark Vukobrat, who lives nearby.

"Some people can't even keep their windows open in the summer, [the fecal dust] settles on their kitchen tables."

In 2014, with no change to the development decision, Alberg added to his feedlot to ramp up the pressure.

"We're bringing in more cows, because we haven't been able to come to an agreement with the District of Saanich," Alberg told CHEK News at the time.

Cows trucking out later this week

Then, two weeks ago, Saanich council decided it will reconsider Alberg's application to build homes.

Previously, it had refused to do that unless the property was removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve first.

Now, as a sign of good faith, Alberg said the cows will be herded up and trucked out Thursday.

"That was a big step for them. And we said, 'Well, you know, maybe we've got to take a big step too,'" Alberg told CBC News.

He said there is support for developing the lot.

"There's a lot of people in the neighbourhood that want to see it developed. And in the interest of the community, in the interest of the local area plan, it probably should go that way."

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