Biogas facility would be industrial-scale waste management
Re: “Neighbours raise (legitimate concerns) over proposed Cobble Hill biogas facility”, (Citizen, Aug. 30).
Mr. Larson suggests that his proposed operation is supported by local zoning bylaws. That it is clearly not the case, which is why he has applied for a text amendment to local bylaws, and approval of a non-farm use from the ALC.
To be clear, “on farm” biogas facilities (of which there are two in B.C.) are to help existing dairy farms, which have been run by the same family for generations, to continue by increasing their revenue through diversification. They are mandated to provide 51 per cent of the total biomaterial (in this case, manure) produced on and by the farm itself, this defines it as “on farm”.
Mr. Larson does not have, nor has ever had a farm, dairy or otherwise. He does not even own the proposed site; 675 Lafortune; he intends to purchase the small 23 acre farm which is currently used to graze beef cattle. This farmland is within the ALR. He intends to move a small herd of dairy cows onto one corner (45, he told us) and sink the rest under concrete to create his waste management facility. This will permanently remove this ALR property from food production. According to figures he provided, his herd will produce about six per cent of the overall waste to fuel his biogas plant, the remainder will be trucked in, much from outside of the CVRD, he said.
This isn’t an “on farm” facility, and there is nothing altruistic in Mr. Larson’s intentions; it’s an attempt to create a loophole for an industrial-scale waste management facility that should not be allowed on our ALR. The CVRD should not fall for the smoke-and-mirrors of this application.
Farms are for farming.