Category Archives: Zoning

The Pete Luckett effect

Want to get close to Pete?  Here’s your chance for only $1000.00/acre.

Grand Pre Road, Kings County. This beautiful large lot has lots of road frontage and is very close to Pete Lucketts brand new vineyard.  Minutes to Wolfville and Acadia University.  Approximately 5 kms to exit 9 on Hwy 101(Avonport).  Has been migrated to land registration system and is ready to go.

We have just one question. Well, two actually. Is it farmland and will the No Farms No Food group give a GD?


A letter

This is a letter we saw in the Advertiser a few days ago [Feb 8]. We couldn’t find a link so we are copying it out.

The Valley: Not much here to look at

It wasn’t for lack of effort our Valley’s tourist value will be soon finished – right about when all the roadside developments are!

I thank Leslie Wade and the organizers and councillors who have continued to fight the good fight to maintain farmland.

However, thanks to Kings County council’s vote Feb. 1 tourists now will be able to drive up from Halifax to see – strip malls and backyard swings! Really worth the drive.

Isn’t it wonderful four already fortunate, long term land-owning heirs were allowed (by some unresponsive councillors and a warden) to take their family legacy from their own heirs, and the most beautiful views of the Valley from the public? Chaching!

Shame on those councillors and our warden.

It is signed with the writer’s name and a location indicated as Grand Pre.

Let us think about Grand Pre for a minute. It has a gas station, and a motel and cafe, and a couple of wineries with shops attached, one with a restaurant, an antique store or two, B & Bs, a horse stable, and nearby JustUs coffee roastery and the Tangled Gardens shop/factory which makes jams, jellies etc. It also has a major interpretive centre. These are commercial or institutional establishments. It also has some recent residential building (duplexes). We suspect none of these “developments” (except perhaps the stable) would be allowed presently in the farmland zoning the SOS people are fighting to keep.

Does Mr. Robinson LIKE Grand Pre? We suspect he does. Does he consider it attractive to tourists? We do. Perhaps Greenwich might like to “develop” some of those things as well. Would a market similar to Pete’s Frootique be attractive? Perhaps a good bakery? Tourists are attracted by “things to do” not just by “views” of farmland.

Why is it that the land west of Eden Row can be “developed” but not the land east of Eden Row?

We think what the writer is worried about is the TYPE of development (“strip malls and back-yard swings”). That is yet to be approved and  is still up for debate and input. Supporting infrastructure is an issue. It is hoped good decisions will be made.

And we think the bee keeper could be grandfathered.

More on farms

David Daniels, one of our regular readers, made a submission at the recent meeting on the re-zoning of Greenwich land . He has sent his full presentation to us for publication since media reports of necessity leave out much of the detail. It is 39 pages and in pdf format so we have attached it as a link below rather than copy it all in.

Daniels submission

We do copy below this portion – what Mayor Stead said the Town concerns were.

In a letter to then Warden Fred Whalen, dated October 25, 2010, the Mayor of the Town of Wolfville, Robert Stead, sets out the Town’s concerns about the proposal and why it may have a negative impact upon the Town and the general region.  The concerns are: (1) Infrastructure costs.  It would be better for development to take place in existing growth centres in Kings County.  “There is likely significant extra capacity within all the Kings County growth centres including the Towns of Kentville and Berwick.  Development can take place in the existing growth centres without the need to extend off site services and in many cases infill development can take place without the need for any additional on-site services as well.”  (2) There is a need to preserve all farmland. The proposal’s attempt to preserve best soils through the designation of Urban Agriculture will likely not achieve that end.  (3) Development in existing growth centres has sustainability advantages.  (4) Social/Cultural Issues.  The existing growth centres represent the heart of social and cultural interaction and the creation of another growth centre will weaken the existing growth centres. (5) Lifestyle/Health Issues. “Development in Greenwich, away from the existing commercial centres, will not encourage this healthy lifestyle.”

Our emphasis, not Mr. Daniels.  And here is our Translation:”‘Canada Lives Here‘ in Wolfville and that’s the way it should stay even though it costs an arm and a leg. We need the taxes so we can continue spending like there is no tomorrow.”

We wish these issues were adjudicated rationally instead of with the emotion betrayed at the meeting. Candles and a soulful rendition of Amazing Grace are sweet but don’t cut the mustard when it comes to significant decisions like this one.

Greenwich re-zoning

Didn’t take long for the Gordon Delaney of the  CH to get a report up on the Greenwich re-zoning meeting in Kentville. [link fixed] He must have been filing from the venue!

David Daniels, well known to readers here, makes the lead paragraph.

A lawyer for a group opposed to a controversial farmland rezoning proposal in the Annapolis Valley says Kings County council could be acting illegally if it adopts the amendments.Allowing the rezoning of 380 acres of farmland in Greenwich, Kings County, “will constitute an illegal action and a denial of the public’s right to procedural fairness and natural justice,” Wolfville lawyer David Daniels said Monday night.

He made the comments at a public hearing that drew over 200 people, filling the gallery and the hallway outside council chambers, where chairs had to be set up to accommodate the overflow.

Mr. Daniels having cut his teeth on the CAO contract issue, knows about going beyond the NSURB to the Supreme Court.

Daniels said council’s approval of the rezoning would not be brought to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board but to Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

The Municipal Government Act allows people to apply to a Supreme Court judge to quash a bylaw or resolution of council for illegality.

Daniels argues that the proposed amendments are not in the public’s interest.

But who decides what is in the public interest? A municipality can appropriate your land if it feels it is in the public interest. Property rights are not in the charter.

All in all an emotional, even entertaining evening complete with music and slide show. Climate change was mentioned, naturally. When is it not?

Farmers got the last word in the article – but not anywhere else.

Paul Elderkin, a longtime farmer and the father of Peter Elderkin, said farmers are struggling.

“If they were able to make a decent living, there wouldn’t be so much land for sale,” he said.

Need we add that Wolfville has contributed to the competitive advantage of surrounding areas and therefore their attractiveness for development by making Wolfville one of the most expensive places to buy in the province outside of Halifax.

Ag Land Use Report out

The report from the NS Land Use Committee [from July]  has been released. PDF here

Media Release  here

“In addition to offering tax incentives on farmland, I’m pleased to say we’ve already acted on some of the report recommendations such as establishing a soil-improvement program to ensure sustainability of farmlands,” said Mr. MacDonell. “We’re also in the process of analyzing our dykelands and we’re working with the Department of Natural Resources to establish ways that Nova Scotians can help shape the future of agricultural land use.”

Notice to readers

Our last two posts which referred to Brian Sanderson’s conversation with a caller impersonating Chris Parker have been removed to avoid further damage to the repuatation of Councillor Parker. Brian is truly sorry about the turn of events and has apologised for his reaction to what turned out to be a hoax call.


Boo! Ramona” This is what we saw on some orange signs in Port Williams a few days ago. We wish we had taken a picture as the next time we passed by they had disappeared in a ghostly fashion. We suppose that they are a clever comment on Ramona Jennex’s decision to overrule the Kings Co. proposal on farmland rezoning.

The provincial ministerial review of the proposed Port Williams Secondary Planning Strategy (SPS) and associated land use amendments has cleared Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Jennex’s office: the upper portion of the land along Collins Road will remain farmland, which will restrict residential development. This land represents approximately half of the area the County of Kings requested be rezoned.  [The Register , Oct. 7]

Area residents are reaping the benefits [or not, depending on your point of view] of their NDP vote.

Kings North MLA Jim Morton said he is pleased a decision has been made. He commended Jennex for balancing the need for growth while protecting agricultural land in Kings County.

So it is either the status quo or accept Ramona’s restriction. That’s a rock or a hard place. The farmland issue is not going to go away. The pressure on farmland will only increase unless farming locally becomes more profitable.

Brian Sanderson, a frequent commenter here sent a missive to the NoFarmsNoFood organization and copied to us. We always find Brian’s writing of interest and we pass it on for our readers.

Dear NoFarmsNoFood (NFNF), 

I recently received a NFNF leaflet entitled:  “No green. No future” with a side bar titled “Bully-boy tactics backfire”

So who exactly is it that has been threatening who and how? Is this a matter that is before the courts? Have you got the courage to call a spade a spade or is NFNF just engaging in cowardly propaganda?

Your position is unrealistic. Nova Scotia is urbanizing.  The strip between Kentville and Wolfville is one of several obvious growth areas. The biggest centre of urbanized growth is Halifax+surrounds. The provincial government seems determined to grow the NS population by importing people faster than our kids can leave! The NFNF strategy will result in all urban development focusing on the Halifax district. If that is your desire, then might I suggest that you lead the way by moving yourself. Certainly, if everyone with one of your signs picked up and moved to Halifax we would have a whole heap of abandoned residential areas reverting to yet even more unused farmland!

As for your statement about environmental degradation, it is abundantly clear that it is the shear weight of human numbers that is responsible for that. (“Globalization” has the effect of spreading human impact more uniformly over the planet.) I am heartily fed up with green nitwits and politicians who adopt the attitude that we should crowd ever more people onto this planet and offset the effects of that crowding by the “green strategy” of requiring each individual to live a diminished life style with diminished resources and ever more oppressive regulation and bureaucracy.

I have no time for cowards, or idiots, or hypocrites — regardless whether they come packaged in green, or as politicians, or whatever. That is not a threat, it is a statement of fact. Green used to be quite a pleasing colour.  Frankly, nowadays, “green” makes me quite queasy.

Brian Sanderson

Affordable housing

It is said that the Town Administration wants to encourage affordable housing in the Town . It would seem then that the Town would follow policies which would lead to that.

The farm fight is not immaterial to this issue. Why is farmland even considered for development when there is housing available in Wolfville and other towns around? There are many houses for sale here in Wolfville. Why is there pressure to build in Greenwich and Port Williams?

Because it is expensive to live in Wolfville. Land is more expensive and taxes are higher. Those who are buying (or building) a house know that and look elsewhere. Buyers also avoid the high deed transfer taxes that towns often impose. This increases the pressure for land outside of Town limits.

What would be the result of taking all land suitable for farming in the province completely off the development map for good, whether presently used for farming or not, via legislation? The amount of land available for building would decrease dramatically, the price of land where building was allowed would increase accordingly. Housing would be less affordable even though incomes are no higher. Even rents would go up.

Is this what we want? Think carefully about who would benefit.

Can the province (ie. present and future taxpayers) afford to compensate farmers for their land (since they can’t make a living off of it but can’t sell it either)  and then subsidise housing for those who cannot afford it? What policies could the province put in place which would make farming more profitable, creating employment in the industry and of the land instead of unemployment?

There should be a win/win solution somewhere (there usually is)  but we have a feeling no one is looking for one. Everyone is too  attached and passionate about their own position.

Farm fight

We have read so much on one side of the Save our Farms issue that it was good to see another voice given SOME space in the Advertiser [Aug 17]. A sensible woman councillor [There are some around? Glory be!] wrote a letter to the editor as follows:

After numerous newspaper articles, several supportive editorials, newspaper advertising, hundreds of lawn signs, three lawn sign campaigns in Port Williams and a website, the No Farms No Food group has managed to get 900 people out of a Kings County population of 60,000 to sign the online petition, i.e. less than two per cent of the population.

That is not very good.

They have damaged the cause of the protection of the agricultural industry by dividing the community pitting neighbour against neighbour and farmer against farmer.

They have done this by distorting information. For example, in Port Williams, it is proposed to include into the growth centre 124 acres of Dykeview Farms and Riverbrook Farm. That is offset by the removal of 71 residential acres from the growth centre.

That equals 53 acres added to the growth centre plan. Since the village of Port Williams is 5,774 acres, this equals one per cent of new land available for development.

Why do they constantly refer to 167 acres? They do not subtract the 71 acres and they include back yards and private properties of other residents who are not developers, and also several squaring off lines to make a rational line on a map, recommended by planning staff.

Out of the 124 acres proposed for development, an open space donation must be made. This will take the Zone A of the well- fields out of both agriculture and residential. The 124 acres already are serviced with sewer and water. The school, post office, library all have the capacity to service growth.

The Kings County MPS directs growth to growth centres. Port Williams is a highly successful growth centre and fully-serviced village. Most of us who live there will welcome new neighbours, as we have welcomed residents of Solar Heights, Planters’ Square and Ports Landing subdivisions over the past 30 years. A new fully-designed subdivision will help us to recover from the double blows of losing our industrial base in the Shurgain mill and the egg grading station.

The Village of Port Williams was incorporated 49 years ago. It has legal status under the Municipal Government Act. The village has always been governed by visionary commissioners from many backgrounds. The commission is elected and is fully supported by the ratepayers of Port Williams and the commission supports the amendments awaiting approval in Halifax.

Respectfully submitted, Janet Newton, Councillor District 2, Municipality of the County of Kings

No online link found,  so this was taken from our fish wrapper copy. Emphasis is ours.

The SOS signs have been sprouting all over like dandelions in Wolfville, some of them on the town easement. It appears the No Farms No Food group has been going around asking householders to put signs on their properties, willy nilly. We doubt the campaigners are filling residents in on both sides of the issue so most of these signs probably do not represent informed or strong opinion.

We also note that when the Woodman Lands (that once were orchards) were going under the hammer of development we didn’t hear a peep.

The farm fight

The pitchforks are out.  It is a pretty uneven battle. On one side are those of influence who want to preserve the bucolic landscape we love (some of us after making our livelihoods and fortunes elsewhere – probably somewhere urban).

On the other side are the  farmers (at least some of them) who can’t seem to do well and think they have property rights. Poor sods. They should know we Canadians don’t really have property rights. They aren’t enshrined in the infamous Charter and if farmers want to sell their land for a purpose other than farming, it’s just too bad. Because  the land is zoned agricultural and that is that. Zoning is sacrosanct. When it suits us that is. Or until government confiscates the land for something in the “common good”, say an airport or a Walmart or a wind farm.

In Wolfville agricultural land has been bought and sold for all kinds of purposes for generations. Half the properties around here were once farmlands or orchards. It wasn’t that long ago that the Woodman Grove development was approved.  Wasn’t there an orchard there? But that is different, of course. We know better now.

Families who cashed in early were winners and we who followed have a right to benefit from any increase in value due to the new use. That is as it should be. Those families who maintained a farm for a hundred years or more instead of selling out when they could, when we were less enlightened, too bad for them.

So farmers, don’t rain on our parade. We like having you around.  Your farms are quaint and a source of fresh veggies in season. We like to have you right next door so we can look out on green fields and fruit trees. Except when you smell and create noise and spray things; we retain the right to complain loudly about that and stop it if we can.

Never mind that we vote for people and policies that don’t actually support your business. Farms and farmers have to be over taxed like any other business and closely regulated. Get serviced by municipal water and sewage  systems? No way. Pay for your own. And no Bio solids or pesticides or hormones or GM foods. You farmers have to watch your waste and fertilization practices to save our water. Costly yes, but we have a right to safe, fresh, cheap food and clean water. Not profitable? Oh, that’s too bad. So sorry. We’ll write a letter to the paper when your hog farm goes bust.

You say we are having our cake and eating it too? Why not? It’s at your expense not ours. Admit that our position is self -serving? Don’t think so. Hypocritical because we love to shop at Super store and Future shop? No way, we are saving the planet and our children’s patrimony.