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Agricultural changes raise scrutiny

Efforts to preserve agriculture in Coldstream are harvesting public discussion.

The district has proposed land changes which would affect agricultural lots. One of which is increasing the minimum allowable parcel size from two to 10 hectares. Another is restricting the home plate, or amount of agricultural land that can be used for a house, garage, pool, etc., to 3,600 square metres.

Such changes drew a crowd of upwards of 50 people at any given time to a recent  open house at the municipal hall.

“People came with a lot of concerns and some with very valid concerns,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, impressed with the turnout.

The district will be taking the concerns, and any others received by the March 28 deadline, and re-working the proposed changes to better reflect the community.

“We’re going to be going back and taking a look at it and seeing how we can make it more pliable,” said Garlick, who would also like to see the agricultural committee resurrected. “Rather than force something through.”

While there would be variances, concerns were raised about the home plate, particularly for those that might need to rebuild due to fire, or those wanting to add on to accommodate families.

Arguments were also made that increasing the minimum parcel size would make it harder for people to afford the land if they can’t subdivide.

But Garlick maintains that since Coldstream already has a variation in agricultural lot sizes it’s important to maintain the large lots remaining.

“In the end what you’re supposed to be doing is enhancing agriculture or benefitting it in some way,” said Garlick, adding that there must also be agricultural land in order for the proposed water separation to be viable.

The proposed changes to Coldstream’s agricultural plan also include allowing up to four hens within any residential zone. A new RU30 zone is also proposed to preserve the district’s sloping hillsides down the Coldstream valley.

The proposal, and feedback forms, are available at the municipal office as well as online at www.districtofcoldstream.ca under What’s New.

 

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