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Viking Fur Inc. moo-ving along with beef cattle request in Cavendish

People will be able to see a variety of animals during open farm day visits.
An environmental assessment committee prepared draft guidelines identifying the information Viking Furs must provide on their proposed cattle farm. - File photo
CAVENDISH, N.L. —

Got beef?

If all goes according to plan, Viking Fur Inc. may soon be able to answer yes.

The Cavendish-based mink fur company has proposed to diversify its business by raising beef cattle, according to documents filed with province’s department of municipal affairs and environment.

Company president, Peter Noer, and vice-president, Erik Dalsager, both grew up and worked on mink farms in Denmark before moving to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Neither were able to comment in time for this article.

Their plan appears to have been in the works for some time, with documents filed with the province’s environment department in February of this year.

The company purchased a bull and 11 cows in December, 2016, with the intention of adding to its mink fur farm.

The initial beef cattle herd will include 26 animals, with the potential to grow to more than 100 by 2023.

The company has requested to develop some 117 hectares of Crown land to make the project happen. The land would primarily be used for pasturage.

“This expansion will contribute to the availability of locally-raised beef within the province,” reads the application, adding the project would make good use of the requested land.

“Land in Newfoundland and Labrador has many restrictive properties but when managed correctly can become very productive,” the proposal states.

The identified land, potentially on the west side of Route 80, would need to be cleared, seeded and developed for grazing.

Given the nature of Viking Fur Inc.’s request, an environmental assessment is needed under the Environment Protection Act before the project can proceed.

The company argues in its application the potential economic impact on the outlying community, as seen by some of their previous projects, merits their request.

“Viking Fur Inc. has continued to grow and expand in recent years putting much needed money back into the economy in rural communities specifically in Trinity Bay,” reads the application.

The proposal is currently undergoing a provincial environmental assessment but also requires an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to determine if the project will have major environmental or socio-economic impacts.

Former Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Graham Letto announced in April that the EIS was necessary to answer questions around potential odour and waste management.

Lynn Robinson, a media relations official with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment, said the company has three years to submit an acceptable EIS.

The company also has the option to apply for three one-year extensions.

“Once submitted, the EIS will be subject to a 50-day public and government review, after which the minister will inform the proponent whether the EIS complies with the Environmental Protection Act and the EIS guidelines or whether any further work is required,” she wrote via email.

Viking Fur Inc. has been in operation since 2004 and employs 45 regular and another 40 seasonal workers.

@joshrjhealey / joshua.rj.healey@gmail.com

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Public input

An environmental assessment committee prepared draft guidelines identifying the information Viking Furs must provide on their proposed cattle farm.

The public is invited to view these guidelines and provide written comments by Sept. 28.

The province says comments received will be reviewed and considered before the EIS guidelines are finalized and issued to the company.

More information on the project is available on the department’s website at: https://www.mae.gov.nl.ca/env_assessment/projects/Y2019/2002/index.html.

Written comments must be submitted by Sept. 28, 2019, to:

Eric Watton, M.Sc.
Project EA Committee Chair
Environmental Assessment Division
Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment
West Block, Confederation Building
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s NL
A1B 4J6
Fax: 709-729-0320
Email: EAProjectComments@gov.nl.ca

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