A battle is percolating between the Town of Paradise and the Jumping Bean coffee company.
Reacting to residents' complaints, council wants the business to stop the smell and smoke filtering from its St. Thomas Line roasting facility.
Owner Jeff LeDrew says he's spent $200,000 on eco-friendly equipment to address the issue and, as a result, his emissions are 90 or 95 per cent less than what they were.
He says he's willing to shoot for 100 per cent less, but if he's going to do so, he wants the town to define exactly what it'll accept so the problem doesn't arise again.
"I don't know what else I can do," he says. "At this point, I'm at a dead loss. They're asking me to fix a problem and, if you look comparatively, we've got to (have) less impact than a pizzeria, a fish and chips joint ... not to mention other manufacturers."
The situation has been brewing for some time.
LeDrew set up in 2005. With the business growing, he sought a permit to expand.
One of 10 conditions council attached to approving the application was he address smoke and odours issues immediately if they were a nuisance to neighbours.
The businessman says he had known the "heavy, dense smoke" from his building was an issue, and he wanted to fix it anyway.
"It would lay down and it would literally almost be like a fog," he admitted.
"And I said, 'If I don't solve this, it will get solved for me eventually.'"
He ordered a custom-made, eco-friendly coffee roaster that used a heat recovery system.
It didn't arrive when he told the town it would due a manufacturer's delay. Unimpressed, the municipality put a stop-work order on the facility Dec. 14.
"Which I thought was a bit unfair, because I think there should have been a bit of wiggle room ... even when I showed them clear evidence I'd have this thing fixed before the month of December," LeDrew says
The roaster was installed and operating weeks later. As far as the owner was concerned, it's been working efficiently ever since.
He says smoke only occurs during the roaster's transition from full exhaust to partial exhaust and that is only for a short period of time.
As well, he says the number of roasting days per week has been reduced substantially and the only smell comes as heated coffee is cooling.
LeDrew says he called the town in February to ensure everything was OK and was told there'd been one complaint. He says he took that seriously and tweaked his system.
He assumed the issue had been resolved until Tuesday, when two media outlets - The Telegram and The Shoreline - informed him it had re-arisen at a recent council meeting.
Some neighbouring residents had complained about the smell again and Deputy Mayor Allan English had noted their concerns. As a result, council voted to send a LeDrew a letter that gave him 30 days to eliminate the odor.
"I was like, 'Whoa (this) came out of nowhere,'" LeDrew says.
He plans to do what he can to get rid of the emissions. He's contacted the manufacturer and his lawyer. He says he'll meet with town officials in two weeks and he wants it clearly defined what's acceptable.
LeDrew says he's disappointed no members of council have contacted him directly. He thinks they should dig deeper before taking a position.
He also says the town hasn't done anything to help foster his business, a company he figures has the potential to employ 35 people.
And he notes he can't run a business always looking over his shoulder and worrying he's going to be shut down.
According to English, the situation is a pitfall of having a production facility in a residential neighbourhood.
The deputy mayor stresses the Jumping Bean's expansion was approved with conditions, and one was to immediately address problems related to emissions.
"While things aren't as bad as they used to be, there are still problems there," he says, noting complaints are still coming in and his concern is for residents.
He says senior town officials witnessed emissions from the facility three weeks ago and they found it strong and noticeable.
English doesn't think LeDrew should be shocked the issue re-surfaced, noting town staff and the business have corresponded with each other.
He also considers it unfortunate if LeDrew found out about council's latest decision through the media.
As for councillors not contacting the entrepreneur, English says such communication is left for staff.
"That's not trying to absolve myself of guilt here. That's what we do," he says, explaining it's staff's role to investigate if a business is in compliance with regulations.
The deputy mayor says Paradise is business friendly and focused on growing it's commercial tax base. The difficulty, he reiterates, is the Jumping Bean is in a residential area.
Ultimately, English hopes the issue can be rectified.
"I want the same thing Mr. LeDrew wants, I want the problem to go away. So do the neighbours."
NOTE: The original version of this story erroneously stated the Jumping Bean's emissions are 90 or 95 per cent of what they were. That's been corrected to read the emissions are 90 or 95 per cent less than what they were.