Lantzville councillor withdraws motion to investigate colleague

NANAIMO – A call for an investigation into a Lantzville councillor's private tree farm has been called off.

Lantzville Coun. Jennifer Millbank has withdrawn her notice of motion calling for an investigation of fellow councillor Brian Dempsey’s tree farm.

A news release sent out by the district Thursday cited the need for a structured policy on bylaw enforcement as the motivation behind the dispute resolution.

At the district’s Jan. 14 council meeting, Millbank served the notice of motion, stating that Dempsey’s Christmas tree farm was posing a possible breach of Bylaw 60, which does not permit the sale of agricultural material on residential land.

Following a meeting held between Dempsey, Millbank and Lantzville Mayor Jack de Jong on Wednesday, the councillors agreed to settle the dispute in favour of approaching council to amend the portion of the bylaw related to existing home-based businesses to accommodate small farm operations. The amendments would also include provisions for operators to be considerate, and maintain good practices and neighbour relations.

“A narrow interpretation of the zoning bylaw would indicate that everyone in the community that has or is growing vegetables, fruit trees, etc., and markets these products may be contravening the bylaw. However, Lantzville has a long and rich agricultural heritage and has rarely, if ever, needed to enforce this particular portion of the zoning bylaw,” states the news release. “In fact, small time farming has been encouraged as demonstrated by the recently opened Lantzville Farmers Market.”

The regularly scheduled Lantzville council meeting on Monday (Jan. 28) has been cancelled due to limited items on the agenda. The next council meeting is Feb. 18.