Re: the article on Aug. 31, Councillor Doesn’t See An Exception for Harvestfest, I’d like it known that we have never sought an exception from compliance of any sort.
After a complaint had been lodged by my neighbour to a City councillor, the City had no option but to act on it.
I met with City officials and we initiated action toward addressing the issues. The process has been slow and has been hindered by the workload that we have.
My whole issue at the moment is not about compliance or non-compliance but more to do with flexibility with regard to the omission of Harvestfest on the list of events.
As Harvestfest is a non-revenue producing event we felt it should not be regarded as a commercial event. The City saw otherwise . . . so be it. Harvestfest will not happen this year, that is evident.
We will continue to work toward satisfying both the City’s and the Agricultural Land Commission’s requirements. My wife and I (along with family and many others) have worked hard to establish integrity and trust in this community. The fact that we are seen as looking for special status both concerns and offends me.
As to removing myself from the agricultural advisory committee, I felt it was the prudent move as I had an issue with both the City and the ALC. I felt being a member of a body that could suggest policy that would affect our operation could be perceived as a conflict of interest. In my mind, that was the positive step to take.
I did not remove myself because of non-compliance as I felt we were doing everything to work toward absolute compliance.
The agricultural advisory committee’s purpose is not limited to finding ways to support and encourage agriculture in the community. It also has an obligation to ensure that farming remains viable in every sense (this is not currently the case).
We need to find ways to reconnect people to their food systems . . . events are a very effective way to do this. All levels of government need to effect policy that includes recognizing that farmers need to diversify in order to remain successful. This ultimately leads to a stronger and healthier community.
I also find it disconcerting that a councillor would comment and show a bias toward an issue before it has even come before council and all the facts have been presented.