Company is working to rectify the situation
TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2017 /CNW/ - Fiera Foods has always strived to be a good corporate neighbour to its surrounding communities. The Company understands that its Toronto facility, which it has operated since 1999, is located within a growing employment area that is within 200 metres of a residential neighbourhood, so it welcomes comments from local residents and endeavors to meet their needs whenever possible. More importantly, as of September 2017, the date of its latest noise measurement, the noise environment of the residential neighbourhood is within Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) requirements, taking into account the background noise of the surrounding environment and facility noise.
"The concerns of our neighbours are important to us," says David Gelbloom, General Counsel, Fiera Foods. "We want to be a positive contributor to the residential neighbourhood and will continue to engage in two-way dialogue to understand and, where possible, resolve any issues raised." The Company is sensitive to the feelings of its surrounding residents, in particular those who came forward to speak with the Toronto Star, and will continue to communicate with them to help alleviate their concerns, while also working with the MOECC to comply with regulations.
The Company's request to the Committee of Adjustment for by-law variance was not approved, part of which was the conversion of a parking garage to be used as production space and for which Fiera Foods had a permit to build. However, City Planning staff did not object to the application for additional space, and the City Economic Development Department supported it. Further, City Council did not object to the additional space being granted by the OMB provided that Fiera Foods agreed to contribute to a needed traffic light for the residential neighbourhood. Evidence provided at the OMB hearing from an environmental noise expert showed that the additional space the company was seeking through variance applications/appeals would not add to the noise environment created by the facility. Whether the additional space is approved by the OMB or not, the noise environment for the surrounding residential neighbourhood would remain the same. The OMB proceedings are not related or connected to matters relating to the MOECC.
Noise in this residential area is created by multiple sources, including vehicles travelling along Highways 400 and 401, train noise (backyards on Jodphur Avenue abut a train track), aircraft noise from Pearson Airport flight paths, and all industrial users (including Fiera Foods). Complaints were filed even while all fans were not running and operations were shut down. This activity suggests that residents are misattributing noise from other sources to the facility.
Once the Company learned of the concerns of the residential neighbours regarding sound from its facility, it undertook a series of noise mitigation measures in accordance with a timetable agreed upon with the MOECC. The first measure was implemented in March 2016 to address the fans related to the new condensers, which were a main source of noise. Since then, noise mitigation measures have steadily been implemented, frequently ahead of schedule. These measures have resulted in a noise environment that meets MOECC requirements, taking into account the background noise of the surrounding environment along with the facility noise.
In March 2016, Fiera Foods established a Complaint Response and Reporting Procedure and a Community Communications Plan. As part of the response to a noise complaint, a report is prepared and the Company conducts a detailed follow-up, all of which is recorded and reported to the person making the complaint. The Community Communications Plan includes a report circulated to the community every two weeks to provide updates on the noise mitigation measures as well as the status of the Company's Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) application.
The Company even invited neighbours to its facility in early 2016 to voice their concerns, but only one individual attended. Further, in October 2016, Fiera Foods and Marmora Freezing hosted a community meeting with the goal of providing updates on noise mitigation measures, hearing their comments, and updating the status of the ECA application. None of the neighbours attended this event.
To demonstrate its commitment to the local residents, the Company supports their petition for the noise barrier along Highway 401 to be replaced. It was removed during recent construction and residents believe it impacts the noise levels in their neighbourhood. The Company is also addressing a neighbourhood need by funding a stoplight within the community. City Council also felt it was important to the neighbourhood.
Fiera Foods is discouraged by the Toronto Star's inappropriate linking of the residential noise concerns to a serious tragedy that has occurred at the facility. News media have a responsibility to accurately report the facts to the public without bias. However, Fiera Foods continues to be the subject of the paper's inappropriate reporting and blurred facts.
About Fiera Foods Company
Fiera Foods was started in 1987. From its humble beginnings 30 years ago, this privately owned food company has grown to become one of North America's leading bread and bakery product manufacturers employing 1,200 employees and producing more than $240 million in exports. Fiera Foods specializes in bagels, pastries, croissants and artisan breads and rolls. For more information, visit www.fierafoods.com.
SOURCE Fiera Foods Company
For further information: David Gelbloom, 416-746-1010, [email protected]