LTC permit decisions keep local industry rolling
The Salt Spring Local Trust Committee was generous in consideration of several temporary use matters at their Nov. 10 business meeting as trustees acknowledged the benefit of keeping local business ventures in operation during difficult times.
Forsyth Farms gravel mart was issued a soil deposit and removal permit and a temporary use permit that will make much of its operations fully legal for the first time. This includes the sale of aggregate mined from the Jones Road property and sales of imported bark mulch, compost and soil.
“In a very difficult climate for economics, they’re trying to eke out a living and also provide a service to a lot of people,” commented trustee Laura Patrick.
Patrick noted the ability to purchase landscaping products locally is especially welcome during the COVID-19 pandemic, when interest in home gardening has “exploded,” but added she hopes that interest continues after the pandemic has ceased.
The Local Trust Committee had been waiting to receive a security deposit toward site restoration before issuing the soil removal permit. Staff reported at last Tuesday’s business meeting they had recently learned that request may have overstepped the LTC’s legal rights, and therefore recommended immediate issuance. Owners Grant Forsyth and Michele Mackie have a B.C. mining permit and have paid a $12,500 security to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources toward the eventual restoration.
Islands Trust staff had additionally been concerned about the non-farm use of land within the Agricultural Land Reserve. However, bylaw enforcement staff from the Agricultural Land Commission have indicated they don’t have a problem with the activities taking place.
Charlie’s Excavating eyes TUP
Trustees were sympathetic to a request that bylaw enforcement temporarily cease on a property being used by Charlie’s Excavating until a temporary use permit application can be considered.
The four-hectare (nearly 10-acre) property on the corner of Cranberry and Blackburn roads is zoned Rural Watershed 1. The applicant seeks to use two acres for the business, including two existing accessory buildings, three sea cans, storage, office space and onsite fuel storage.
Company representative Mia Cahill argued that allowing the company to keep operating while the permit application is being processed is to the community’s benefit by keeping jobs on Salt Spring and reducing ferry traffic from off-island contractors. Perhaps more significantly, Charlie’s Excavating is currently involved with two major affordable housing projects on the island: Croftonbrook phases two and three, and Salt Spring Commons.
“I think that certainly sets us apart from other excavating contractors on Salt Spring,” Cahill said.
While the committee was unanimous in supporting bylaw enforcement relief, Patrick said she hoped the applicants would take the time to engage with neighbours and ensure their concerns are addressed in the proposed temporary use permit. She repeated the wish to support the businesses that are still running amidst COVID.
“I’m confident that we can reach a TUP that has the guidelines that allow peaceful co-existence,” Patrick said.
“Certainly working together is going to make a much healthier community in the long run,” agreed LTC chair Peter Luckham, who also encouraged the applicants to work with their neighbours.
Also at last week’s business meeting, the Local Trust Committee issued a three-year temporary use permit allowing Ron and Carolyn Cook to operate a portable sawmill at 133 Caprice Heights. The primary use for the sawmill is to support gardening and agricultural uses on the property. The sawmill can only be used for a maximum of three hours per week, and not on Sundays or holiday Mondays.