Pre-emptive Council support for ALR removal denied; land owner commits to bringing a pig feedlot to Sooke’s town core
Sooke Council has made the decision not to preemptively support an application for ALR land removal by the owner 6912 West Coast Road, Anthony Laughren. He was seeking to have this property, which he deems unfarmable, removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).
His representative, Stephanie Davidson, noted that if obtained, District support would have been included in their application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). Without municipal support, removal of the land from the ALR would be unlikely. If unsuccessful, or if not supported by the municipality, they would put a feedlot on that plot of land.
Representative Stephanie Davidson addressed council at a Committee of the Whole meeting on May 1, requesting Sooke support their application to remove their 6912 West Coast Rd. property from the ALR. In return, the District would be given one to two acres for community purposes.
According to Davidson, the land at 6912 cannot be cultivated for crop farming. Intensive livestock (feedlot), the owner felt, would be their only viable option.
The May 1 COW meeting ended with the request that Davidson send supporting information to staff, and that staff work with the land owner to complete an assessment. This recommendation would be formally proposed at the next Regular Council Meeting.
At the Regular Council meeting on May 8, Mayor Tait said the materials requested from the Davidson had not yet been received. Tait also phoned the Land Commission, and was told that the applicant first needs to apply to the ALC. That application is then sent to the municipality for a decision. That would be the appropriate time for the municipality to assert their approval or rejection of the proposal.
According to Tait, this request was currently out of Council’s control. And because of that, the only thing they can do is deny it.
Asking staff to prepare a report for this applicant when other applicants have been refused, said Tait, is unfair. This would be, in effect, letting this one applicant jump the queue to other applicants who may have similar requests.
The mayor advised the land owner to first apply though the ALC. A feedlot currently is a permitted use, she said. If animals are brought onto the property, there are federal and provincial regulation to which the land owner would have to comply.
They cannot just dump a lot of animals onto the lot, said Tait, wrapping up her comments. According to her, when things are done properly, people won’t even know there’s a feedlot on the land.
In response, Davidson expressed profound disappointment. She was not notified that the matter would be decisively discussed so soon after their COW meeting. She was under the impression that Sooke staff would look at the past application, which included the soil survey that was previously submitted with a 2012 application for that same piece of land.
Davidson was also under the impression that she would have time to get a new evaluation completed. She had also scheduled an agriologist to begin looking at land, and the soonest appointment she could get was the day after the Regular Council Meeting, on May 9.
They do not function by the District’s schedule, Davidson said, referring to the agriologist.
“I was in the processes of having another one done in order to provide new evidence, but I would never have been able to have it completed before May 8.”
So, the next step to Davidson seems rather clear.
“We will begin a prepping lands for a feedlot as soon as the ground is secure enough.”
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- Owner plans land preparation for pig feedlot in Sooke
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- Sooke contemplates energy, murals, ALR lands, and the OCP
- Feedlot-or-ALR-removal matter goes before Council on May 1
- Two Sooke residents present feedlot concerns to the Mayor at Monday’s Public Input
- A land owner is at a crossroad, and a feedlot may be coming to Sooke