Is composting on agricultural land a legitimate use of agricultural land? If you are paid for waste to be dropped off and paid when it is sold after processing, is this considered farming?
Yes to some extent. But at what point does it become an industrial enterprise? Farmers say they need new ways of farming to make money. These seem to be the same farmers that can erect large processing plants on agricultural land in rural residential/ agricultural areas.
This is a very complex issue facing Central Saanich. The current bylaw states 100 per cent of composted materials must be used on the farmer’s land or land he is leasing. This is reasonable and protects and improves farm land.
Changing the bylaw would allow for up to 50 per cent to be sold. Changing the bylaw without any conditions attached, as mayor and council are proposing, will give up enforcement and control of what is happening in our municipality. Composting regulations and enforcement would become the responsibility of the Agricultural Land Commission. Odour issues would become the responsibility of the CRD. This issue looks like it is being run by the large agricultural land owners and a council allowing it.
Did we not elect a council to protect and work for all of us? Central Saanich is made up of more than just the large farmers. There are also many small farms with concerns and neighbors that are being affected. This council needs to protect all its residents. Due process should be followed before any bylaw changes are considered and a public hearing should be mandatory. If this affects you, or if you believe that industrial /commercial scale composting is not a legitimate use of farm land, it is time to speak up for your community at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David and Michele Bond