June 17, 2019

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Farmer must clean up

Committee says urban agriculture operations subject to city's rules

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/4/2010 (3356 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A South St. Vital farmer who raises pigs, chickens, cows and a donkey on a property with 20 derelict vehicles and a small landfill's worth of refuse has lost his bid to fight a cleanup order from city hall.

In January, city health inspectors and bylaw-enforcement officers told Drago Kucas to dispose of the clutter on his St. Mary's Road farm after determining agricultural properties within city limits were subject to the same neighbourhood-livability rules that require other property owners to maintain tidy plots of land.

After Kucas appealed, the inspectors came to council's protection and community services committee with a digital slide show of images from this past fall. Couns. Mike Pagtakhan, Grant Nordman and Harvey Smith gasped as they were presented with images of pigs wandering around refuse, trees growing up through a refrigerator display case and frame after frame of rusted and derelict pickup trucks, sedans, vans and agricultural vehicles.

"I've been a health inspector for 20 years. I've never seen anything like it," special constable Kevin Seaford said of the property, before the committee voted unanimously to deny Kucas' appeal.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 8/4/2010 (3356 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Rotting garbage, barbed wire and a truck full of refuse block the entrance at the Kucas livestock farm.

PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA

Rotting garbage, barbed wire and a truck full of refuse block the entrance at the Kucas livestock farm.

A South St. Vital farmer who raises pigs, chickens, cows and a donkey on a property with 20 derelict vehicles and a small landfill's worth of refuse has lost his bid to fight a cleanup order from city hall.

In January, city health inspectors and bylaw-enforcement officers told Drago Kucas to dispose of the clutter on his St. Mary's Road farm after determining agricultural properties within city limits were subject to the same neighbourhood-livability rules that require other property owners to maintain tidy plots of land.

After Kucas appealed, the inspectors came to council's protection and community services committee with a digital slide show of images from this past fall. Couns. Mike Pagtakhan, Grant Nordman and Harvey Smith gasped as they were presented with images of pigs wandering around refuse, trees growing up through a refrigerator display case and frame after frame of rusted and derelict pickup trucks, sedans, vans and agricultural vehicles.

"I've been a health inspector for 20 years. I've never seen anything like it," special constable Kevin Seaford said of the property, before the committee voted unanimously to deny Kucas' appeal.

Livestock on a pile of manure surrounded by scrap and old machinery at the Kucas farm on St. Mary’s Road.

PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA

Livestock on a pile of manure surrounded by scrap and old machinery at the Kucas farm on St. Mary’s Road.

If Kucas doesn't clean up his property, the city will clean up his land and add the bill to his property taxes.

The hearing also saw some of Kucas' neighbours complain about odour emanating from his property — and Kucas fire back that other area property owners are equally to blame.

"I'm not going to argue," he said after the hearing, which saw a police officer observe the verbal exchanges between Kucas and neighbour Richard Novotny. "All I want is to have the bylaw applied to everyone else around here."

Following the hearing, Coun. Smith (Daniel McIntyre) surmised it may be time to re-examine the practice of farming within city limits. The practice is throwback to the days before Unicity, when some of Winnipeg's wards were mostly agricultural as opposed to urban.

But Seaford told the committee most of Winnipeg's remaining farms are maintained in an orderly manner.

He also said the animals on Kucas' property do not appear to be in any danger, noting the farmer seemed most concerned about their safety when inspectors visited the property.

Council approved Winnipeg's neighbourhood-livability bylaw in 2008 to give inspectors the power to enforce a variety of public health and community safety bylaws during a single visit.

bartley.kives@freepress.mb.ca

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