A controversial new proposal that would see four grain storage bins, complete with aeration fans, constructed within town limits has drawn the ire of a group in Russell.
Norma Holmes, who lives less than 50 metres from the proposed site, said a petition to stop the bins from being built has garnered more than 500 names from community members.
“We are opposed to the proposal based on the health, safety, noise and pollution,” Holmes said.
“Our concern is for the quality of life and in particular because of the noise and dust pollution.”
Holmes said she talked to several farmers who said the new bins would cause a significant amount of dust and noise in the area.
“This operation should be on the farm,” she stressed. “I’m not going to be able to open my windows or sit in my back yard and enjoy the peace and quiet because it is going to sound like an airplane is going overhead.”
The bins, which would be nine metres in diameter and 18 metres tall, are being proposed by Fairfield Land ‘N Cattle.
Len Derkach, who owns and operates the family-run business with his three sons, purchased the old Agricore United elevator in town five years ago amid opposition from many of the same people who oppose the construction of the bins.
Today, the family, who farms near Russell, needs more storage on the property. The bins, according to Derkach, won’t create any dust problems. As for noise, he worked hard to source bins with the quietest aeration systems possible.
“They are a low-velocity fan,” Derkach said, adding they are designed to keep the grain cool and prevent spoilage.
In his research, Derkach recently drove to a farm yard near Langenburg, Sask., where the bins were in operation. From about 50 metres away, he said the aeration system only made a “slight hum” noise.
“Traffic in town makes far more noise than the fans,” he said, adding the system would only be used during certain times of the day and in certain months of the year.
The family has invested significant capital into fixing up the exterior of the elevator. They’ve also taken measures to decrease traffic and reduce noise, Derkach said.
Tonight, Derkach will present his proposal to town council at 7:30 p.m. He also said he will answer any questions from the group who is opposed to the bins.
“We respect the quality of life of people that live in the area,” Derkach said, “but they did choose to build or buy their homes while the elevator was there.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 22, 2013