Lantzville council continues to dig deeper into soil transportation to address the urban agriculture issue.
Council passed first and second reading of the soil deposit and removal bylaw on Monday. It will now be sent to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, which will consult with the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Environment on the bylaw.
Once approved by the ministries, there is a possibility of getting more public input and holding a public hearing on the issue, Lantzville Mayor Jack de Jong.
Council tried to create a bylaw that encourages small-scale farming by not being so restrictive that people can’t bring in soil, but at the same time places limits to ensure it isn’t a nuisance to neighbours, de Jong added.
Jamie Wallace, a spokesman for Friends of Urban Agriculture Lantzville, said the group supports council’s desire to protect land from over-development, but says because the district has water issues over-development isn’t likely to happen soon.
The bylaw is too restrictive in its limitations on the amount of soil that can brought to a property and doesn’t take property size into account or the specific needs of a person who wants to grow organically, he said.
“The trick with organic production is you need organic matter inputs continually to replenish the soil because you are removing the crops you don’t get that cycle back into the ground,” he said, adding compost is needed to rebuild nutrients. “[The limitations on soil transportation] could be a hurdle for people who want to grow their own food. The application process is quite onerous as well.”
Wallace said getting more public input into the bylaw would be a good approach.
For more information on the soil deposit and removal bylaw, please go to www.lantzville.ca.