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Lantzville council says more discussion needed on urban food garden bylaw

Lantzville council re-examined the urban food garden bylaw during Monday’s meeting and decided more discussion is needed on the issue.

Lantzville Mayor Jack de Jong said the urban food bylaw still requires more discussion before proceeding further. And council will look for more advice as to where it is heading on the issue.

De Jong said options include the possibility of a public meeting, hearing from experts and examining how other municipalities have handled the issue.

“It’s a tough process. There are so many tough opinions on both sides,” said de Jong.

The district has been trying to tackle the issue for about a year with information meetings and first reading of the zoning bylaw held in April. In June the district created an Urban Food Garden Advisory Committee, which presented its report on the issue in September. The committee’s report is available at www.lantzville.ca.  The bylaw remains at second reading.

Council proposed some revisions to address outstanding issues.  De Jong said the overriding contentious issue is manure and its impacts on water supply.

“Obviously we don’t want to sacrifice water for farming,” he said.

De Jong said that although Nanaimo has passed an urban food garden bylaw one of the major differences between the communities is the issue of water. Many people in Nanaimo are connected to city water supply while people in Lantzville rely on wells.

“We don’t want to jeopardize what we have,” said de Jong.

However, he added that creating opportunities for agriculture is an important issue.

The wording regarding wholesaling will also be re-examined as some residents have expressed concern that if they have small plots a wholesaler won’t be possible because of the limited quality of produce grown.

A public report, meant to summarize input into the issue and the reasons for restrictions on the commercial use of a property for food production is still being prepared by staff. De Jong said there isn’t a date as to when it will be presented to the public.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

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