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Lantzville urban farming recommendations contested

The committee tasked with reviewing the Lantzville bylaw for urban agriculture presented its recommendations to council this week, but the issue remains divisive.

Highlights from the recommendations include: defining the permitted growing area to no greater than 600 square metres or 30 per cent of the parcel area; allowing composted material to be imported on site, except raw manure; and clarifying language.

The proposed bylaw defines urban food gardens as the use of land not zoned for agriculture used for small scale commercial growing, harvesting and wholesaling of fruits, vegetables and edible plants, but does not include the growing of food for personal consumption which is permitted without restriction in any zone. The bylaws (60, 2005 and amendment bylaw No. 60.23) can be viewed online at www.lantzville.ca.

Andrew Mostad, a committee member and spokesman for the Friends of Urban Agriculture, said he was unhappy with the final result.

“I don’t think it was a fair process,” he said, adding there wasn't sufficient time to discuss the complex issue.

The committee had one month, but Mostad says it should have taken at least six months. He also wanted  to hear from more experts on the subject.

In a letter to council, committee member Angela Giuriato said she doesn’t feel the final report properly serves the citizens of Lantzville and does not support it.

Mostad said a more extensive public consultation process is needed and the proposed bylaw should be created from scratch with a round-table discussion with stakeholders, instead of behind closed doors by Lantzville council.

Committee member Coun. Warren Griffey said he’s pleased with the outcome of the recommendations.

“This is one of the most progressive bylaws to come to the Island,” he said, adding it goes further than Nanaimo’s, Parksville’s or the Regional District of Nanaimo’s bylaws.

The public was consulted through a series of workshops and that information was used to craft the bylaw and during the recommendation process, which began in April, he said.

The bylaws passed the second reading at a special meeting last week.

The next step is a public hearing. Date, time and location of the hearing will be determined at Tuesday’s (Oct. 11) council meeting.

Griffey said the input from the public hearing will determine if the bylaws are given third reading or if further changes are necessary.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

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