Text version follows.
February 19, 2021
Statement on Reports of New Meat Processing Facility in the Stockyards District
It has been brought to my attention that a recent online report indicates that a new meat processing company is looking to open in the former Ryding Regency Meat Packers facility (70 Glen Scarlett Road).
I have received several questions about why information about this was not relayed to the community, and I would like to be clear that this information is news to my office. This is a privately-owned facility on private land and my office has not been involved in any conversations about the use of this site as is currently permitted.
I am aware of the concerns from residents about nearby slaughterhouses (abattoirs) and meat processing facilities. I have spoken about this multiple times with City Staff, at City Council and at Etobicoke York Community Council, and I have been working on changing the land use permissions in the area.
Land use changes are enacted through a Municipal Comprehensive Review. I moved a Motion (EY11.18, adopted by City Council on December 17 and 18, 2019) that specifically recommends "City Planning to review the zoning for the lands within the vicinity of and including the property at 70 Glen Scarlett Road in the context of the Municipal Comprehensive Review to be undertaken in 2020."
This review began in August 2020 and is currently underway. I am optimistic that the results of the zoning review will be complementary to a more complete community. This process does not happen overnight and may take a couple of years, but the City is actively working in a direction that accounts for concerns from the local community about nearby land uses. At this time, however, an abattoir remains a permitted use on this private site.
I should also note that there is a key caveat in the permitted use after any potential rezoning. Even if the property was already rezoned for another use, a meat packing plant would still be permitted. It would be considered legal non-conforming. This is because while the Province's Planning Act (the "Act") authorizes the City to amend zoning by-laws and remove permitted land uses, Section 34(9) of the Act states that a zoning by-law cannot be passed by a municipality to prevent the continued use of a property or building if that use was legally established when the new zoning comes into effect. Should permitted uses under the zoning by-law change, the provincial Act allows these legal non-conforming uses to continue on a subject site.
For example, if a meatpacking plant closes down after the site is rezoned and a carpenter shop opens up in that location, then a meatpacking plant would not be a permitted use after the carpenter shop. The carpenter shop would be considered an 'intervening use' in this case. However, if a meatpacking plant closes down after rezoning and sometime later another company wants to run a meatpacking plant on the site, this would be permitted. This is because under the Act, although the site was vacant, there was never a change in the use, so the legal non-conforming status stands until there is an intervening use.
The City cannot supersede this component of the Provincial Planning Act. The only tool the City has to prevent future abattoirs after an intervening use is through the Municipal Comprehensive Review, which currently includes the site in question.
I would also like to clarify that the City is not involved in the licensing or registration of an abattoir in any way. The license is provided by the Provincial government, and the registration is approved by the Federal government.
Abattoirs are licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) under the provincial Meat Inspection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.5. All matters related to the issuance, renewal, suspension or revocation of a license to operate an abattoir is entirely under the purview of the provincial government.
As a municipal office, I do not receive notification when any such application is submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. Questions or concerns about the status of license approval to operate this facility, as well as how this application was overlooked and why the community was not notified, should be addressed to the local Member of Provincial Parliament. MMP Faisal Hassan can be reached at 416-243-7984 or email@example.com.
I am open to working with the community and the other levels of government which hold the key to current and future licensing approvals of this facility.
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Councillor Frances Nunziata