E-I-E-I-O

The issue of rezoning farmland has come up again and will continue to do so.

Some people in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley say precious farmland is being sacrificed in the name of development.

About eight noisy protesters waved signs in downtown Kentville on Tuesday, angry that Kings County Council is once again considering an application to rezone a half-hectare to allow a home to be built.

Eight protesters. That isn’t very many. About a half hectare of land, which isn’t very much.

But we are of two minds on this issue. Zoning should mean something and shouldn’t be changed willy nilly. People have expectations based on how their area is zoned and it should stay fairly stable. Remember the R1 issue?

On the other hand what is the use of  reserving land for widget production when no one wants to produce widgets because no one is buying widgets anymore?

Pete Elderkin, a farmer in nearby Greenwich, said the number of farmers willing to try to make a living off the valley’s fertile agricultural land is dwindling.

He said it’s one thing to protect the land, and quite another to make agriculture worth a farmer’s time and energy.

“The way to do it is not to go out, and rezone and say, ‘This land stays this way forever.’ You need to turn agriculture into a profitable enterprise,” Elderkin said.

Let’s repeat that. It is worth repeating.

You need to turn agriculture into a profitable enterprise,”

So yes, it isn’t wrong to make a fuss about rezoning but decisions should be made which favour making farming profitable. Maybe that means allowing sale of some small parcels so that the farmer has some capital to invest in profitable improvements – like direct marketing- or new more profitable methods – like organic farming.

And perhaps the protesters could take their signs into the supermarkets and demand to know why prices still go up when farm suppliers make less and less.

Otherwise – Is there EI for farmers?

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2 responses to “E-I-E-I-O

  1. I’d hate to see every farmer turn into a property developer. Of course, that’s hardly the issue when some guy just wants to carve off an acre… and we have hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland not being utilized!

    Frankly, I like those farmer guys. Especially, I like the farmers who let me and my boy ride our bicycles on their farm trails down at the dykes. (Heck, they don’t even complain about my dog… they must be saints!) I’d rather pay them a few bob to help with the trails, or whatever, than keep coughing for mayoral flights of fantasy.

    If a farmer is getting a bit long in the tooth and can’t get a reasonable price for his farming business, then redevelopment for housing or industry might be an option for serious consideration. We should not be bound by bureaucratic dogma — either way.

    It might make sense for more people to be living in the Valley rather than cramming everyone into the Halifax fog-hole… What do you think?

  2. We can’t see why Councils can’t tell the difference between a farmer who is just trying to shave off some capital so he can continue his operation and the guy who is trying to make a killing by turning his whole acreage into a development like Woodman lands. Like, can’t they see they difference? Know your people. This of course assumes that Councils will be honest about their agenda.