It’s a good thing Andrew Pozsar didn’t count his chickens before they hatched.
Because after overwhelming opposition from the neighbours, Pozsar is scrapping his plan to build a two-storey 20,000-ft. chicken barn on his 250th Street property, north of Dewdney Trunk Road.
“We’re not going to go ahead with the chicken farm. The chicken farm is cancelled. What else we’re going to do, I don’t know.”
Pozsar said his lawyer is out of town and when he’s back in a few weeks, he’ll advise him what to do next.
In January this year, Pozsar told his neighbours of his plans and dropped off information sheets to about 220 nearby homes explaining that he wanted to build a modern, two-storey barn that would produce 25,000 birds, every 54 days for the broiler market.
The barn would have been 76 metres long and about 7.5 metres from the nearest property line.
Neighbours though rallied, formed a Facebook group and posted lawn signs. They were about to present Maple Ridge council this month with a petition opposing the plan.
Neighbours didn’t like the stink, traffic, safety or esthetic issues that could result from having an intensive farm operation literally next door in their suburban neighbourhood.
A “Stop The Chicken Farm” Facebook page had 170 members and e-mailed or called about their opposition to Pozsar’s plans.
Poszar said he didn’t want to build the barn if the neighbours disliked the idea. And 97 per cent of those who e-mailed back to him after seeing his info sheet, opposed the chicken barn. His lawyer verified the survey results, he pointed out.
“The chicken farm idea itself, is cancelled. What else we’re going to do, I don’t know. I told my lawyer to think about it and come up with a recommendation. It’s whatever he’s going to recommend.”
People have spoken, he added. And he said from the start, he’d only proceed if people supported a chicken farm. “I believe in democracy, so I listen. I’m not happy about it.”
Pozsar said he was “shocked” and “surprised” with the animosity from his former neighbours. Some people don’t talk to him anymore. “I never thought, in 100 years, this would happen.
“I thought people would be happy and they would appreciate that I’m going out of my way and being neighbourly and asking them that question.”
He had one death threat and as a result put in $2,000 worth of security cameras. His perimeter fence is electrified. A letter from Pozsar’s lawyer said he’s also received legal or lawsuit threats seeking compensation because a woman couldn’t sell her house. Realtors told him the proposal was hurting sales in the area. Another neighbour called him a chicken killer.
He added that accusations that his proposal was just a ruse to make it easier to get his land out of the ALR are “groundless.”
His family used to raise chickens and he may still try to start a chicken farm in Surrey or Delta where it’s sunnier.
But if people wanted the land to remain in the ALR, why object to him raising chickens? he asked. But Poszar said he’ll listen to his lawyer’s advice.
According to a March 2 letter from his lawyer, Pozsar “will seek other options.”
“It’s obvious, that I don’t belong to this neighbourhood and farming doesn’t belong to this neighbourhood,” Pozsar said.
“They don’t even look at me. Before that, every neighbour said hi to me.”
“I’m not wanted here and farming’s not wanted here and that’s sad.”