MEDIA RELEASE: Sept. 28, 2011, Lantzville, BC
Conrad Berube, Environmental Protection Officer for the Ministry of Environment, wrote in an email to Becker and Shaw, “All indications I have thus far indicate that there is little evidence of environmental impact at the farm or neighbouring properties and that the property-use dispute should best be handled through local zoning bylaws.”
He also wrote that he had spoken to Lynne Magee, the Regional Drinking Water Co-ordinator for the VI Health Authority, who took water samples from the property, and shared that their analysis did not indicate that there were “any excursions from Canadian guidelines for drinking water quality.”
“It was one year ago that we received our first letter from Bylaw Enforcement”, says Nicole Shaw. “Over the last year the mayor has moved the goal posts several times. First, he insisted that the problem was a zoning infraction stemming from the selling of our produce at the farmers’ market which was grown on our residentially-zoned property. After he and council received hundreds of letters in support of what we are doing, he changed his position to ‘concerns’ over how we affect our neighbours. After neighbours wrote letters in our support and spoke at council meetings, the mayor changed his stance to ‘concerns’ about traffic, pests and odour–none of which council had ever communicated to us; we found out by reading it in a mailout from the Mayor to all residents of Lantzville. Ten months after the first letter, the mayor moved the goal posts again, this time citing ‘concerns’ about contamination of the water supply. Which, again, wasn’t communicated to us–we found out through the media.”
“Mayor Haime’s campaign is fundamentally libelous and slanderous and has definitely impacted our sales at the farmers’ market.” says Becker. “We no longer have people lined up at our booth. We have seen them move to other vendors’ booths.”
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