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Lantzville digs in new direction on urban agriculture

A new bylaw is intended to limit the transportation of soil to address issues around urban agriculture in Lantzville.

Council isn’t moving forward with the original proposed urban agriculture bylaw.

Lantzville Mayor Jack de Jong said after receiving legal advice on the proposed urban agriculture bylaw, council realized it covered too many aspects and was trying to regulate items that were already covered by other jurisdictions, such as the provincial agriculture ministry.

“Basically we’ve been told it’s too complicated and some of the items are not enforceable,” said de Jong. “We tried to tackle too much in one bite as a small community. We’re going to take it a piece at a time to deal with some of the issues.”

The original bylaw will be used as a reference as council takes pieces of it to address specific issues.

After discussion and public input, council realized the objections around urban agriculture don’t revolve around the growing and selling of food, but more around the transportation of manure, de Jong said.

He said the transportation of raw manure is under provincial jurisdiction, but the district can create a soil bylaw that addresses the transportation of composted manure.

“I see the soil deposit bylaw as being really positive … council is looking at protecting our topsoil,” said Jamie Wallace, spokesman for the Friends of Urban Agriculture in Lantzville.

Wallace said over the past year or two, misinformation was circulated about the use of manure and FUAL is offering a workshop later this month to better inform people about the issue.

The workshop is approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment and is planned for is April 29. Pre-registration is required by e-mailing jfcwallace@shaw.ca.

The group wants urban farming within Lantzville and wants bylaws that reflect this, said Wallace. The organization previously asked council to rescind the proposed urban agriculture bylaw, because members felt there wasn’t enough public input into the process.

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This summer residents of Lantzville could go down to their local community farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce.

Jamie Wallace, spokesman for the Friends of Urban Agriculture in Lantzville, said the first market will be held in early summer. Committee members are still nailing down a location, but it's close to being finalized.

“It will be an exciting event and we are really looking forward to it, hopefully it will draw the community into the core of the village,” he said.

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