Lantzville looking for farm solutions

Councillor speaks out regarding urban farming.

To the Editor,

Re: Handling of garden issue disappointing, Letters, July 19.

I’m sorry but I can’t hold back any longer. I have been to the urban farm referred to in this letter and I can only shake my head in disbelief as to why all of you are not tearing up your mother’s backyard and dumping raw manure in it and every other residential zoned  piece of properly in Lantzville because that is what you are all saying.

If this person can do it on his residential lot, then so can everyone else.

We have bylaws. They are there for a reason.

Council has tried on numerous occasions to ask the landowner to comply and has made every attempt to give the landowner as much latitude as possible, yet no one is listening from the agricultural side.

It is partly about the manure, but it is also about a residential property being used for a commercial venture.

We have given the owner options (use composted materials, apply for a temporary use permit, shelter the rain barrels for sale on the property).

Nothing has happened and yet council has even gone so far as to extend the time limit even while in abeyance in order for the land owner to sell the products that have been produced so that they do not go to waste.

I watched as the raw manure was dumped not 50 feet from the neighbours’ front door back in the early spring, so do not tell me that I have not been to the property.

I could only watch in complete horror as three truckloads of manure were brought in and dumped right in front of me.

The smell was atrocious and the only thing I asked the landowner was, “why can’t you at least dump the manure on the other side of the property and wheelbarrel it over so that it wouldn’t be as offensive as it is?”  His response was “that would take too much time.”

The landowner also said the smell would dissipate in a few hours. I came back a week later – it still smelled.

So I have been there at least twice. I do not see a need to go onto the property and have a tour of a garden  – I know what a garden is.

Yes, it’s beautiful now, but where’s the compassion for the neighbour, where’s the compassion for the community, where is the compassion for all the taxpayers who work within the boundaries of the law and who will now have to foot the bill on this mess?

It’s not about being organic, it’s not about saving the planet, it’s not about the food shortage on Vancouver Island, it’s not about council hating food.

It’s about when, where, what and how agriculture and urban gardening can co-exist in our community without offending anyone or breaking any laws.

It’s possible, but it takes the whole community to understand. Including the urban farmers.

Coun. Warren Griffey