Local farmer Ellen Lewers spoke against participation by Sooke in the CRD’s foodlands trust program, saying local farmers need the support first. (File)

CRD ‘foodland trust’ request meets resistance from Sooke council

Too many unknowns and a lack of local land derail immediate support

Sooke councillor Al Beddows thinks a proposal by the Capital Regional District to create a “foodlands trust” should go to help existing farmers, not focus on new farmers trying to get themselves established.

The proposed foodlands trust calls for municipalities in Greater Victoria to either donate municipal land or make a commitment to fund the project through the collection of additional taxes.

But several aspects of the plan irked Beddows when the program was presented to Sooke council recently by Jeff Weightman, a project manager for the CRD.

“Is this program going to help established farmers, or focus on new farmers trying to get themselves established?” asked Beddows.

“My thought was that we would be better served if assistance was offered to established farmers.”

Weightman’s response – that the program would primarily focus on new farmers – seemed to confirm Beddows’ fears.

“So, you’re going to take 10 acres somewhere in Saanich and give it to some new farmer with no experience and no equipment, he won’t be living on the land, and you think this will be a good idea?” asked Beddows.

RELATED: CRD weighs support

Beddows’ concerns were shared by Sooke farmer Ellen Lewers.

“I just don’t see the need for a farmland trust. What’s needed is helping the farmers already here,” she told council.

Another issue centred aroundSooke having no land that met the requirements of the trust and the only lands in the program to date are in Saanich and North Saanich.

That would leave Sooke in the position of funding the program on those lands. But even there, problems were evident as there was no definitive dollar amount put forward.

The actual levy required by each municipality, council was told, would be dependant upon how many municipalities actually buy into the concept. So far, only Central Saanich, North Saanich, Saanich and Sidney have opted into the program with several others, including Oak Bay, Colwood, and Langford opting out.

“How are we going to vote to support this if we don’t even know what the cost is?” Beddows said.

“We don’t know enough … there are too many unknowns and we don’t have to go charging ahead right now. Let it sit a year and look at it then” he said, adding Sooke would be better off funding an additional community garden.

“The garden down by the Baptist church donates something like 3,000 pounds of food a year to the food bank,” he said.

Coun. Megan McMath expressed her own concerns about the concept, noting the land donated to the trust was almost exclusively in the Saanich region.

“I don’t see the benefit of donating (to the trust) given that the land is so far away from us. I would like to pursue the donation of CRD owned parkland (in the Sooke region) for the trust,” she said.

Following additional discussions, during which Coun. Tony St. Pierre and Coun. Ebony Logins both expressed some support for the trust, it was decided council would support the foodland trust concept in principle, without making a definitive commitment to participation.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Access: A day in the life using a wheelchair in Victoria

Black Press Media teamed up with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre to learn about barriers

Popular food truck to open restaurant on Oak Bay Avenue

Dead Beetz Burgers adds brick-and-mortar restaurant

CRD aims to reduce solid waste going to Hartland Landfill by a third by 2030

District launches public engagement campaign for waste reduction strategies

Sidney wasn’t and isn’t considering leaving current library system, says mayor

Current plans call for a review of library services in 2022

More than 300 teens take to the polls at Mount Douglas Secondary for mock federal election

‘This is a pretty engaged generation,’ says Mount Douglas Secondary social studies teacher

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read