To the Editor:
While we appreciate Billy Potash’s acknowledgements that work has started on the construction of the controlled atmosphere facility some of his comments show a misunderstanding of the opposition to the removal of ALR land to accommodate a commercial building. Opponents are people of good standing and long time involvement in the community (just like the supporters of the CA facility).We fully comprehend the essential importance of the CA facility to the economic well being of the farming community. What we think is best for the community is the preservation of highly valuable agriculture land exactly the type of land that farmers who supply fruit to the CA facility use to grow this fruit.
What we are opposed to is the fact there were other alternative sites available that could have been explored and to the conflict of interest of the Advisory Planning Committee who were responsible for making the recommendation to the ALC. We were appalled by the lack of local consultation on the matter just as we are that there are no local bylaws that state clearly what we want to see in our community.
There are people who are opposed to any Official Community Plan for fear of not having control over what occurs on their property. Ironically the removal of prime agriculture land for this building clearly illustrates what happens when we do not have any community guidelines or control over what landowners or business interests can do when left to their own devices.
It demonstrates that individuals or business interests in our valley can assume that they, and they alone, know “what is best for the community” and can proceed with their plans unencumbered by any bylaws or official community guidelines. Now that this precedent has been set on what grounds could the ALC reject other proposals to remove more of this parcel of land to be utilize for industrial or other purposes?
It is time to get our heads out of the sand and realize that if we want to protect what we have then we better come up with an Official Community Plan that provides strong legislative enforcement in the form of bylaws that will protect and preserve what we consider as important to our community.
Bob McAtamney, Cawston