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Haz-Mat suits required for shuttered North Bay meat shop

Swarm of flies greet clean-up crew entering Bavarian Meats
Haz Mat 1
Hazmat suits are necessary to enter the former Bavarian Meats shop on Wallace Road due to rotting meat and insect infestations. (Stu Campaigne/BayToday

Early preparations are underway in the effort to rid the building housing the former Bavarian Meats of rotting meat and thousands of maggots and flies.

Last week, BayToday broke the story about the closed butcher shop on Wallace Road and the stench neighbours can smell from their homes.

The business has been closed since the fall of 2021 and rotting meat has been confirmed as the source of the foul smell and the cause of the infestation of insects visible through the front door and all around the property.

Members of a Winmar restoration crew entered wearing Haz-Mat (hazardous materials) suits and industrial strength P100 respirator masks on Friday. The electricity has long been turned off to the building and an electrician worked with a generator to provide power for the restoration crew.

They hope to freeze the rotting meat that has been left inside to make its disposal easier. One of the crew members who has been inside the building this week remarked that one of the freezers is full of meat products and a swarm of flies flew out when the freezer door was cracked open.

"This is the worst I've ever seen," he advised.

Meanwhile, a letter to neighbouring home and business owners from Winmar indicates the removal of the meat could begin as early as Monday morning and the job could take up to four days:

"We anticipate that the work may cause offensive odours in the immediate area. We recommend that dwellings within the immediate area keep windows and doors closed while work is being carried out."

The owners of the auto body shop directly adjacent to the Bavarian Meats building appreciate the letter and the obvious efforts to finally remedy a situation that has dragged on for months but admit they are concerned about timelines. They will likely lose business the days the butcher shop's doors are swung open and the stench and flies pour out. What if the remediation work goes on longer than anticipated?

The Cicciarelli brothers and their father before them have owned the Seymour Street shop for more than 40 years and have been tolerating the foul smell emanating from the business next door while waiting for some action.

Bill and Tanya Vrebosch have been working on a solution to the situation for weeks and the media exposure and pressure from the public seem to have worked in eliciting a response and some action from the numbered company that owns the property.

Coun. Vrebosch says he has been advised a course of action sometimes taken by a municipality facing such circumstances is to place a lien on the property. This would prevent the sale of the property, as has been recently explored by the numbered company in control.

Deputy Mayor Vrebosch says she has been frustrated by the lack of a direct solution to the issue as it got passed around by various stakeholders. Last week she called for the property owners to do the right thing and clean up the mess.

She says her main concern now is communication between the numbered company based in Oakville, the restoration company and the neighbours.

The City of North Bay is not involved in an official capacity in the remediation of the interior. A clean up of the exterior was performed by the City and billed to the owners in late June to dispose of meat left in barrels at the rear of the property.