Council demands action over farms

Council demands action over farms

Coldstream officials want to know how acceptable farm practices are defined

The conflict between residents and farmers continues to dominate Coldstream’s agenda.

Considerable time was spent by council Monday discussing concerns from some residents about agricultural activities, including the use of helicopters to remove rain from crops.

“Our important role is to make it clear to the government that we have other taxpayers and there is a concern about how their lifestyle and use of property are being impacted,” said Coun. Richard Enns.

Council will ask the Farm Industry Review Board to study how new agricultural methods evolve into being considered acceptable farm practices.

“Tell us what a new farm practice is. The progression from new to normal is what we’re dealing with,” said Coun. Doug Dirk.

“If they can’t define how something moves from new to normal, there is a problem.”

One of the challenges for the municipality is that provincial Right to Farm legislation supersedes any location bylaws when it comes to agriculture.

“In some areas (of B.C.), it’s described as the right to harm because of the impact it has,” said Enns.

Council also wants to meet Agriculture Norm Letnick and Mayor Jim Garlick says the goal is to work with the ministry to develop rules that make sense.

“The aim isn’t to put the farmer out of business. The issue is timing when they use helicopters or sprayers,” said Garlick.

About six residents appeared before council to express their concerns about adjacent orchards.

“The ministry has an obligation to provide reasonable regulations,” said resident David Schaefer, adding that helicopters can hover over cherry trees as early as 4 a.m.

“The noise is more like what you would expect in a war movie.”

Schaefer added that there is considerable frustration among his neighbours about orchard work, including tractors and pesticide spraying at all hours.

“On my street alone, there’s been six properties listed because of the farm activity.”

John Lewis also criticized what the residents describe as industrial-level agriculture.

“It’s become impossible to live in Lavington. This isn’t normal farming,” he said.