Brant advisers challenge criticism of farmland protection

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Some Brant County councilors are taking issue with criticism of efforts to create a new official plan.

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Com. Brian Coleman said he was “very upset” by the number of delegations which criticized the council for the loss of farmland.

“It really bothered me because most of them don’t farm,” Coleman said, adding he and Coun. Robert Chambers are farmers.

“It seems like everyone has a big opinion on how to farm, how to preserve farmland,” Coleman said. “A number of years ago a President of the United States said, ‘It’s pretty easy to cultivate with a pencil, not a plow.’

Com. John Wheat said he was also upset by the reviews.

“We are doing a great job in Brant County on agriculture and I think people need to look carefully and see that we are doing a good job with agriculture here. “

Councilors made the comments at a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the proposed new official plan. The meeting comes a week after councilors overheard many people talking about the official plan.

During Thursday’s meeting, the board. Marc Laferrière praised the work of county staff and councilors.

“The most vocal developers and the most vocal environmentalists are neither completely satisfied (with the proposed official plan) and I think that could be a good thing because it shows a balance,” he said.

The proposed new official plans aim to move 1,200 to 1,600 hectares to protected farmland. It also seeks to address other issues, such as affordable housing, walkability and transportation, Laferrière said.

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Previous advisers heard from staff who said the proposed new plan takes a farming systems approach, which protects an ongoing land base for agriculture and supports elements of the agrifood network.

Work on the new official plan began in 2019 and has included public meetings. County staff also met with various interest groups throughout the process.

The timeline calls for the plan to be approved in February and sent to the provincial government for review and approval.

County staff will continue to work on the plan over the coming months to include additional provisions for affordable housing and walkability. The staff were also urged by the advisers to find additional ways to facilitate movement through Paris.

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