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.


4 responses to “Farm fight

  1. So is SOS, Sell Our Sod, or Save Our Sod — or Sod Off Suckers?

    Truly, a message for every perspective… Where can I get me one of those signs?

  2. These signs may well put a brake on any future development that the citizens of Port Williams do not want or do not deem appropriate. However, keep in mind that a camel is said to be a horse designed by a committee. Let’s have some more common sense inserted in the debate and let decisions be made by people who know what the results will be. Farmers should have the right to use their lands for whatever they like. They own it. If they want to sell it, that should be their right as well. Why not?

  3. It seems to me that 900 people out of a population of 60,000 is actually quite a lot. Most political polling or market research is based on much less. A random survey of a population that size would only require a sample of less than 400 respondents and would be considered accurate +/-5% at 95% confidence. Sure this isn’t exactly a random sample, but it’s nothing to sneeze at. Janet Newton should hope that all 900 are not in her district…..elections will come around soon enough!

  4. We could be wrong – we often are – but seems to us most of us are on this side, not in her electoral district. In any case it is unwise to assume the strength (let alone the correctness) of a position based on signs, petition signatures or the numbers of letters of support in the paper. There are too many instances when the voting outcome has given an opposite result. All it indicates is that the people who feel differently are not prone to putting signs on their lawns or advertising their feelings.