The district has received a $400,000 grant from the provincial “Towns for Tomorrow” programme to construct the E&N trailway from Aulds to Ware rds. The district Parks and Rec Commission and council had applied for this grant to build the first phase of this regional trail within Lantzville boundaries. The trail will be built to the same standards used within the completed portions in the city. The location of the trail within the right-of-way will not prevent double tracking of the railroad for light rail transit in the future. The city portion of the E&N trail currently ends at Mostar Rd.
Advisory Committee Gets Nod
A majority of councilors approved a motion to establish a committee to advise them on amending the zoning bylaw to accommodate commercial agriculture on residentially zoned land. District Planning consultant Pamela Shaw had prepared a “Terms of Reference” report for this meeting as requested by council at a previous meeting. This document was only slightly tweaked by council before approval. The most controversial aspect was the Sept 16th date for recommendations to be presented to council. Councilor Haime thought the date was unrealistic. Advertising for volunteers and selection by council means that a committee will not get rolling immediately and there will be a lot of research to do in a short time over the summer vacation period. The mayor said that if a committee asked for more time council could consider that request in September. Councilor Griffey moved an unsuccessful amendment that would have seen this committee reporting to council after the November civic elections. This would have removed some of the politicization from the issue. Sept 16 remained. Parkhurst and Haime moved another amendment that would have inserted wording that the committee would be expected to balance the interests of those practicing urban agriculture with those of surrounding neighbors. Since this seems to be the point of the whole exercise it was argued successfully that this would be gilding the lily.
The committee will consist of 2 members from council and 5 selected from volunteers from the community “representing a range of interests and stakeholders”. It is not stated how the mayor and council will make these selections.
Council Split Over Ag Issues
This November’s elections promise to be more interesting than the last. Fissures, not previously obvious, have appeared to formally end any sense of council solidarity. “The accountants”, Mayor Haime, councilor Haime and councilor Parkhurst have emerged to present a team approach to tightly restrict commercial agriculture on residential lands. Councilors Bratkowski and Negrave are more supportive of the concept and of allowing a committee the freedom from council pressure to do their committee work and report back. Dempsey and Griffey are the wild cards in the pack.
Observers were stunned and Bratkowski and Negrave were angered when Parkhurst moved 2nd reading of the urban agriculture amendments to the zoning bylaw that council had been considering at previous meetings. Bratkowski and Negrave felt 2nd reading seemed to second-guess, if not undermine the tasks of the committee which had just been enabled. It was felt that these amendments which had only received first reading would be tabled if a committee was enabled. A chairperson’s nightmare ensued as Parkhurst moved a number of amendments, some of which passed. Parkhurst claimed that second reading, not being law, would simply give a committee something to work from. Bratkowski and Negrave were so put off by the process that they seemed to give up on that portion of the meeting altogether. When they failed to even vote on one of Parkhurst’s amendments mayor Haime stated emphatically “Let it be noted that councilors Negrave and Bratkowski voted for this motion!” (If you fail to indicate your vote, technically it is considered a yes.) When the second reading motion came to a vote, Dempsey lined up with Negrave and Bratkowski to vote against it but Griffey sided with the accountants to pass it. Bratkowski asked for a recorded vote but was rebuked by the mayor who with raised voice said, “You’re too late! The vote will not be recorded!” Noted yes, recorded no? Anyway, the LOG has recorded it.
The usual in camera (closed to the public) meeting followed