2013 - 2014

The Years of the Big Stink

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The Tanner Ridge, Martindale and Hunt Valley Community Website

A place to find information of concern to the homeowners, residents and recreational users of our communities.

·      We are Central Saanich residents, farmers and recreational users who advocate for responsible farming and composting practices that benefit our valued agricultural land. 

·      We believe everyone has the right to clean, healthy air and to the enjoyment of home and property. 

·      We consider the quality of our shared airspace to be of paramount importance to our health, to our lives and to our property values.

For a historical perspective

on the Foundation Organics/Stanhope fiasco

and the effects on our communities,

be sure to check our "About" and "Facts" pages.

In the News

November 19, 2014: 
Composting to Resume at Central Saanich Farm


CRD’s Tom Watkins, Manager of Environmental Resource Management: 
“Of course we did our due diligence…You can’t say that it was the CRD’s material that pushed them beyond their capacity.  We had a range of tonnage that we could send them, but they were also taking material from BFI, cruise ships, Thrifty Foods ... I think that they were trying to push too much material through their facility.”

Class-Action Lawsuit

Mar. 20, 2014:  Most parties have now been served.  Stay tuned!

Oct. 2, 2013: 
A meeting was held to provide an overview of the class-action process and to gauge community support for a lawsuit.  By the end of the meeting, it seemed a unanimous decision of the residents in attendance to move forward.  The lawyer, Richard Margetts, will provide more information as we go forward. 

TWO Central Saanich

Court Actions

Notice of Civil Claim at:

Mar. 20, 214:  The two court cases launched by the Municipality of Central Saanich are still in the discovery/document-exchange process as these suits continue their snail's pace through the legal system.

Feb. 3: 
A reminder that there's an earlier Central Saanich action also  working its way through the courts, dating back to September 2011, claiming the use of the Stanhope Farm property for a commercial trucking operation is not permitted under the land use bylaw. 

Sept. 24, 2013: 
The District of Central Saanich has filed a Notice of Civil Claim in B.C. Supreme Court against the operators of Stanhope Farm and Foundation Organics.  The Statement of Facts provides a clear and eloquent recap of the issues surrounding this controversial facility.

The CRD's Recycler License allowed FO to produce up to 5000 tonnes of finished compost.  Where did all this compost go?


The Notice claims that compost has been taken off-site and sold to the landscape and horticultural industries, in contravention of Central Saanich Bylaws and in spite of FO's Operating Plan which stated that all compost would be used onsite to "replenish the farm''s soil."

It further claims that the propoerty is being used for the collection and sorting of refuse and recyclables that can't be composted. 

It asks the Court to direct that FO permanently cease

using the property to produce compost for commercial sale, and to permanently cease collecting and sorting refuse and recyclables that can't be composted.  It also seeks an Order that requires the plant to prevent odours escaping their property.


ALC Updates


Full Text at:  http://www.alc.gov.bc.ca/Compliance-Enforcement/47403SWO%20-%20January%2030%202014.pdf

September 7:  The ALC Tribunal's decision has been issued. 

September 1: 
The ALC's Tribunal will release its decision on September 5.

June 19: 
The appeal of Stanhope's Stop Work Order was heard in Victoria today.  The Tribunal is expected to issue its ruling in three to four weeks.

May 22:
  An ALC Tribunal will hear the appeal of the Stop Work Order on June 19.


April 3:
Foundation Organics has put in its 11th-hour appeal of the Stop Work Order.  The matter will now go before the ALC Tribunal.

Mar. 20:
 Further to the terms of the Stop Work Order, Foundation Organics has at last provided some documentation, and the ALC has its own Qualified Professional to assist with the review of the documents provided.  Meanwhile, the ALC continues to receive complaints that other terms of the SWO are not being observed.

Mar. 11:  This Morning's View of Foundation Organics' Cloud
March 11 2014
"I'm afraid we will be in for another horrendous summer if the stink over the last few days is any indication.  Obviously the stop work order has not yielded anything."           Karalyn, Tanner Ridge

Feb. 3:
The ALC’s letter of January 9 to Foundation Organics set a January 16 deadline for compliance in providing the information required.  This deadline has long since passed and a Stop Work Order was issued on January 30.  For the full text, go to:

The Order requires FO to immediately cease bringing in all manner of materials, except for required farm inputs such as fertilizers and animal feed, and it requires the operators to provide all the information previously requested. 


We will manage to come out on top no matter how long it takes and it will be because of our friends and neighbours.  As a community we are giving others the strength to stand up for what is right. I now know the meaning of the word “Community.” 

Lee Elder

So glad the ALC has finally done it!  I am very ticked that these so-called farmers have been able to get away with what they have for so long, and at the expense of their immediate neighbours and the community.  In the end, we as a united community have to either help them see the error of such businesses, or insist that our governing bodies show leadership and demand responsibility from private companies.  Along with that should come the ability to impose penalties for not following the rules.

Sharon, Tanner Ridge

Jan. 21: 
The ALC's compliance officer was in Victoria yesterday observing, visiting the property, gathering more information and checking out complaints.  This matter is now at the top of the compliance officer's list, and we await the ALC's next move, expected to come soon.

Jan. 17: 
The ALC's conditions appear NOT to have been met.  This isn't surprising, given the lack of response to Central Saanich and the CRD's requests and requirements.  Now our communities wait to see what action the ALC will take next week. 

Jan. 9:
 The ALC sent a very strongly worded letter to Foundation Organics' lawyer.  From the tone of the letter, the ALC is becoming increasingly impatient with FO's performance and delaying tactics.  The "drop dead" date for compliance with the ALC's terms is January 16.  If the necessary conditions aren't met, the ALC may have no alternative but to issue a Stop Work Order.

Dec. 3:  Adam Olsen is interim leader of the B.C. Green Party and a former Central Saanich Councillor.  He has the following, in part, to say in a Times Colonist opinion feature.

Industrially scaled farm-based composting operations are suffocating residential neighbourhoods.  Farmland owners ignore the Agricultural Land Commission rulings, pursuing non-farm activities that provide a better return than farming.  How has it come to this?

In part, the answer lies with FO's delaying tactics:

In early November, Foundation Organics submitted a Revised Operations Plan to the ALC.  This had the effect of stalling any ALC action until the Plan is reviewed.  On November 29, the ALC sent FO's lawyer a strongly-worded letter setting out the ALC’s requirements in order to consider the new Operations Plan.  The ALC is requiring numerous and specific documents in many areas, documents that apparently have never been provided to any agency even though requested and required.

Oct. 25:  The ALC ruled that Stanhope/FO is NOT compliant with the Act and the operation is an unauthorized non-farm use of land in the Agricultural Land Reserve

For the complete ruling, click on the document below:

ALC Ruling on Stanhope farms

2015:  The Legal Stink Continues...

One trial has concluded on the claim brought to court by Foundation Organics, arguing that they were treated unfairly and unreasonably.  The January 2014 judgement in B.C. Supreme Court by Mr. Justice Steeves upheld the CRD's action in suspending Foundation Organics' recycling license, and found that the CRD treated FO fairly and reasonably.

Read the full judgement at:

But there are FOUR more lawsuits to be heard:

One, brought against FO by the Capital Regional District for public nuisance offenses, and two more suits, brought by the Municipality of Central Saanich for land-use bylaw infractions (including  selling compost), are winding their way through the legal process. 

There's also a class-action lawsuit against FO being brought forward by residents in the Martindale, Hunt Valley and Tanner Ridge communities. 

And the Agricultural Land Commission has ruled that this commercial, industrial composting facility is not an approved farm use, and issued a Stop Work Order.  That SWO was appealed by Foundation Organics.  The appeal was heard by an ALC Tribunal on June 19, and variances to the SWO have been issued.

See below for details, and updates as they become available.


CRD Updates

B.C. Supreme Court Judgement

Full Judgement at:  http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/14/00/2014BCSC0085.htm

July 3, 2014:  The trial, scheduled for September 2, has been delayed.   Stanhope/Foundation Organics has claimed that the CRD does not have authority over the creation of nuisance odours - even though that issue is expressly addressed in CRD Bylaw 2736, which governed their composting business. 
Section 6.1:  "No discharger shall operate a …composting facility in a manner that creates or results in litter, dust (spores or other particulates), odours
or vectors so as to pose a risk to public health or the environment or constitute a public nuisance."

If Stanhope/FO proceed with their challenge to the Bylaw - the very one that was in force before they started their composting business - they'll have to apply to the Supreme Court for a determination on the Bylaws' validity.  It will take at least 6 months after that before the matter can return to the Provincial Court for trial on the charges laid.

May 27:
 Depending on the prevailing winds, there continue to be sporadic instances of that familiar rotting foodwaste smell in our neighbourhoods.   On May 22, there were a number of reports of the stench detectable north of Wilcox and extending to Keating.  On May 26, the stink was discernible on Martindale, and a resident took the time to go and confirm its source, apparently Stanhope. 

Mar. 20: 
The CRD has seen an increase in the number of odour complaints recently.  Last week, for example, people who live on Old East Road, and therefore not Tanner Ridge residents, noted that the stench was at a "12 out of 10" on the scale.  There were also many reports from residents across the highway of discernible foul odours.

Feb. 27:
he CRD action will be heard in B.C. Provincial Court on September 2, starting at 9:30 a.m.  The trial is scheduled to run for 14 days.

Jan. 27: 
he CRD's and FO's lawyers met in Provincial Court Chambers to set a trial date.  Instead, a date to set a court date has been scheduled for Feb. 27.

Jan. 20: 
r. Justice Steeves dismissed Foundation Organics' appeal of their license suspension, finding the CRD did not, in fact, treat FO unfairly or unreasonably.  For the facts and a recounting of the many infractions of the CRD Bylaw, go to:

Jan. 20: 
Mayor Bryson wrote once again to the CRD, reaffirming Council's position that the CRD be responsible for treating kitchen waste.

Jan. 9:  Lawyers will meet in Judge's Chambers on Jan. 27 to address number of trial days required and to set a court date.

Dec. 17, 2013: 
It's off to court again!  The CRD issued summons to the waste plant's operators to appear in court.  They've been charged with public nuisance offences under the CRD's Bylaw and are to appear in court on January 9 to set a later trial date. 

The court will be asked to approve penalties of up to $200,000 a day.

Dec. 11:  Central Saanich Mayor Alastair Bryson is elected to his second term as Chairman of the CRD.

Dec. 3:  It's now MANY weeks past the deadline and the terms of the CRD order
have not been met.

Stink and Noise

Wood grinding business on farm land
Dec. 27, 2013:  Today the noise from Stanhope's grinders is unbelievable.  It is easily equivalent to a semi-truck driving by continuously, and it's audible even inside the house...This is a wood waste grinding business operated on farm land.  And it still smells here, light to moderately offensive almost all morning long.

Dave & Michele Bond, Stanhope Neighbours

Dec. 13:  I live just south of Beaver Lake, near West Saanich and Royal Oak.  A couple of times in the last few weeks, while working outside I've noticed the same distinct odour as when travelling past Tanner Ridge, and have never noticed it before, not even in summer when it was so bad in your area.

Marsha Henderson

We've had reports that the stench has carried to Brentwood Bay, up to Mount Newton and down to Sayward, Elk Lake and even Royal Oak. 

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2014 -

The Year We Once Again

Were Able to

summer is good again!