On Dec. 5, at 6: 30 p.m., Central Saanich council will conduct a public hearing into its proposal to change its land-use bylaw. This change will enable farms to sell 50 per cent of compost produced on any particular farm.
Currently, in this rural municipality, farms must use any composted materials on their own land, and for good reason - this ensures that farmland will be protected. A change to the land-use bylaw will allow more farms to build composting facilities such as the industrial-sized facility between Old East Road and Lochside Trail.
Anyone who has walked or bicycled past this massive composting facility, and who has smelled the odours, and heard the fans and the grinders should be aghast at the thought of more farmland being used for such an enterprise.
The proposed change to the bylaw could change Central Saanich because it will open the door to more farms building composting facilities on a commercial scale. Arable land would be covered by concrete and large buildings, and that precious farmland is irretrievable.
Do we want composting of household and restaurant waste? Of course. But the noise and the odours and the huge increase in truck traffic belong in a light-industrial area such as the Keating Crossroad Industrial Park - not on farmland.
Do we want our rural roads being torn up by trucks too big for them? Will our taxes increase to pay for maintenance of these roads, while Keating Industrial Park remains underutilized?
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