A LOCAL poultry company in Uciwai, Nadi, had to cull about 9000 chicks in an attempt to offset its growing number of hatchlings after a government permit prevented the company from continuing work on a broiler room to keep the chicks.
Toa Fiji Limited general manager Sam Chandra said the extreme measure was just one of a few things that the company had resorted to after the notice was handed to them last week by the Department of Environment.
"We have an output of 30,000 chicks in our hatchery on a weekly basis, which were to go to this location and reared, however, there is no place for us to keep them," said Mr Chandra.
"Unfortunately for us, we had to cull over 9000 chicks last week and for all outputs after we have been trying to retail these chicks for a very cheap price and have been giving them away to depressed rural settlements in an attempt to assist them and also prevent what was done last week Friday to our first hatch."
He said the company was in the process of constructing a broiler shed when it was served with a notice to stop work at the building site by the Director of Environment.
"We were told by the Department of Environment in Lautoka that the construction of the first of six sheds would only require a occupational environment and construction environment reports. The second to the sixth shed would require the complete EIA. This EIA was underway when the stop work notice was handed.
"We don't understand why this happened because they had given us the green light to go ahead with the construction. We had also gotten all the necessary approvals from the iTaukei Lands Trust Board, from the Department of Town and Country Planning, from Nadi Rural Authority and the Department of Environment."
He said they were informed by the Environment Department that nearby residents and two backpacking resorts, one of which is not operational, had complained about the environmental impacts the new broiler shed would have on the area and how its presence would be degrading to the potential tourism area.
To resolve the issue, the Attorney-General and Minister for Environment Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirmed he had met the owners of the company last weekend.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he had also met with the Director of Environment on the issue and they hoped to come to a decision next week.
The company invested about $6million and is completing the construction of their processing plant.
Mr Chandra said some "residents were complaining that due to us being close to the coast, it was considered a tourism area and high class residential would be coming up here".