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This article was published 7/7/2018 (496 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Instead of crying over spilled milk, two farmers could be squaring off against their neighbours next week in a battle over the size of their dairy herd.
Robert Anseeuw and his wife Lori, owners of the 98-year-old Anseeuw Dairy Farm, located in the RM of MacDonald between the Perimeter Highway and Loudoun Road, will be asking the RM’s council Tuesday to allow them to build a barn, so they can expand their herd to 700 from 190.
The Anseeuws will ask for a variance to the zoning bylaw that would allow them to have their liquid manure storage facility 1.2 kilometres from the nearest house, instead of 1.6 km and their solid manure (barn) be 1.1 km away instead of 1.2 km.
Lori Anseeuw said Friday that even if the municipality gives their fourth-generation farm the approvals they are seeking, "it won’t happen right away."
"We just want our three sons to have the opportunity, if they choose, to be able to make a living. My husband and I are in our 50s, and if we are given the permission, they can then make plans for the future."
The family has never received any complaints about their operation, she said.
"We believe we are good stewards of the land."
The province’s technical review committee, made up of representatives from government departments including agriculture, sustainable development and infrastructure, has already given the proposed expansion the green light — if the family acquires zoning approval from the municipality.
But five people who sent letters to the province’s technical committee opposing the project say they fear the expansion and its accompanying smell could reduce property values.
Three of the five could not be reached for comment and the other two did not want to be named.
"Will there be a noticeable ‘farm’ smell in the air?" one writer asked. "This will affect our ability to enjoy our backyard as well as affect the resale value of our home."
Another said: "I have serious concerns over the environmental impact, the smell and the proximity of potential future development."
A third said he believed the expansion could "negatively impact the land and property values of the residential areas of Oak Bluff."
"We just want our three sons to have the opportunity, if they choose, to be able to make a living. My husband and I are in our 50s and if we are given the permission, they can then make plans for the future." - Lori Anseeuw
MacDonald Reeve Brad Erb said he doesn’t know much about the application because all of the documents haven’t been sent to members of council.
He did say the dairy farm "has been an operation in existence for more than two generations" at the current location.
Lori Anseeuw said the issue may be the result of differences between rural and urban residents.
"A lot of people don’t realize the Perimeter (Highway) is not the city limits," she said.
"A lot of people don’t even realize we’re here."
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.