A regional composting facility is one step closer to being located on Argonaut Road in Campbell River.
City council gave first and second reading to a bylaw amendment last week that supports the composting facility, which would be located on a 47-acre property just north current landfill, but the facility still has some possibly significant hurdles to clear before it could begin operation.
The most major of these is that the parcel is located within the Agricultural Land Reserve, and composting is not recognized as a permitted use in the Agricultural Land Reserve Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation, so it must go through the process of being approved through a “non-farm use” application to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). The city forwarded the application on to the ALC “with support” last week to get the process started.
The property would also need to have “compost facility” added to the list of permitted uses for the parcel, which is zoned Industrial Four (I-4). While that zoning is used for heavy industrial and landfill operations, “the specific use of a compost facility does not appear to be contemplated in the I-4 zone,” the staff report on the matter says, but adds, “it is nevertheless consistent with the character of other permitted ises and is not considered to be out of place in that context.”
The zoning amendment, as always, would also have to go through the Public Hearing process to hear any concerns the public has with the idea.
But at least two members of council questioned why they would be sending the application in to the ALC with the city’s support for the project before they hold the public hearing.
Coun. Clair Moglove asked exactly that question to staff last week.
“I have trouble with the ‘support’ part of it, because we haven’t had the public hearing yet,” she said. “Is that the regular procedure?”
Development planning supervisor Andy Gaylor said that the city is unable to approve an amendment to the zoning bylaw if it conflicts with the ALC resolution, “so in this case, the ALC’s decision to approve the non-farm use would have to occur before council could approve a zoning amendment,” so council wouldn’t even be able to consider the change if it’s not approved beforehand by the ALC.
That seemed to be enough for Moglove to vote in favour, but not Coun. Charlie Cornfield, who had similar concerns.
“There’s no way I can support submitting to the ALC with support prior to going to public hearing,” Cornfield said. “If you pass it saying you’re in support your mind is already made up, and I think we should do the public hearing first so we can hear what the public’s comments are and at that time it can go into the ALC.”
The motion passed with only Cornfield opposed, so a public hearing will be held at the start of the July 8 public meeting in council chambers where the public can have its say on the matter.