We need your help! Please go to the following website to sign our petition: http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/alc-ministry-of-environment-ministry-of-energy-and-mines-say-no-to-application-no-2-c-13alr-balme-ayr-farms
This proposal for gravel extraction and fill on ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) right next door to our asparagus farm has huge potential risks described on the petition.
Pedrosa’s Asparagus Farm concerns
We are Marlene and Jaco of Pedrosa’s Asparagus Farm situated at 1550 Robson Lane, Cowichan Bay, B.C. (Vancouver Island). Our 10 acre farm borders the north side of the Balme Ayr Farm (the applicant) which is the property in question. The applicants’ report states that a large buffer will be maintained to protect the neighbours from dirt, dust and noise, but the above photo shows a different story. With no contact or explanation well before their application was made public, they logged to the property line by our farm, removing the buffer of forest.
We bought the Asparagus farm in 2007. It was first established in 1981 and has continually grown asparagus. This property is zoned A-1 (primary agricultural) and is within the ALR as are the surrounding acreages as defined by the attached map. Our soil is of a sandy composition making it perfect for growing asparagus as the root system can reach up to 18 ft deep. The sandy soil keeps the root system clean of fungi and this contributes to the purity and flavour of the asparagus. We understand that airborne silica dust is a normal by-product of mining aggregate. We share two property lines with the applicant. Dust of this nature has been shown to have potential carcinogenic properties and extended exposure can lead to other lung diseases such as silicosis. This will make it more difficult to get employees.
Asparagus is an irregular shaped stalk with a crowned head, therefore any fine particles would affect the quality of our crop as they would be next to impossible to wash out in our processing procedures.
As our only product is asparagus, which we sell from our farmgate, the impact of any contamination would be severe. We are known far and wide for our purity of product. The demand for our product always exceeds supply. We are the largest asparagus farm on Vancouver Island and the customers and restaurateurs from Greater Victoria to Tofino look forward to our fresh asparagus every spring.
Our property and the adjacent properties would be the first affected. No one is immune from contamination because there is a large sand and gravel zone in this sector. Our well is only feet away from the new Balme Ayr extraction proposal. We deeply fear that such a large land extraction adjacent to us will affect the clean, pure untreated water we have at the moment. This water is vital to our business. On our farm we have chickens, quail, rabbits, ducks, geese, and domestic pets. There are no other sources of water. The Cowichan Bay water line is not available for farm use.
We have spent a large amount of money in farm improvements including the construction of substantial buildings and renovations. We invested in these improvements to keep the asparagus fields clean and free from dust and vehicle fumes. We currently employ 8 to 10 people seasonally. Our plans are to expand our agricultural production and to employ 20 people full time in addition to the seasonal employees. With no assurances, our future is on hold. We are working towards future certified organic status. If this project proceeds, our plans would be in jeopardy.
We cannot tolerate dust, noise, pollution and possible contaminated water and changes to the water table. We moved here to be part of a community that is both rural and peaceful. We consider this proposal both unethical and immoral especially if our worst fears are realized. Our residence is the closest one to this proposed project.
They estimate that approximately 3.2 million cubic metres (4,185,441.98 cubic yards) of gravel will be extracted and processed to sell to the Greater Victoria area and replaced with the same amount of clean fill. This proposed market dependent 15 year project could continue long past this estimated time span.
Here is a photo of the grass we planted on the gravel and sand adjoining the subject property (the bare area by the fence in the photo at the top of this page):
Rod-Jo Moody Apiaries Concerns
We Rodney and Josephine Moody of Rod-Jo Moody Apiaries bought our property in 1996. Our 40 acres borders on the north side of the proposed Balme, Ayr gravel pit. We are commercial beekeepers.
Rodney has been in the bee business for 62 years and Josephine for 53 years. For thirty years we have been stock producers, package bees and raising queens on our property. Queens are mated by the Drones in the air.
We have sold for years over 1800 queens to pollinators and honey producer, plus package bees across Canada and off shore.
Bees world wide have had many adverse things causing them to die. For every three teaspoons of food we have now we will only have two or less, with loss of honey bees. We have many concerns about this project moving forward:
- This gravel and sand will have silica content, which is very light and will travel with the winds onto our property.
- There was no buffer of trees left on the Balmes property bordering ours.
- Silica is dangerous to be breathing; in mines where Rodney worked the miners have to be tested every year for silicosis, which many of our friends developed.
- Silica can also have an affect on our queens and bees lungs.
- Dust & silica will get on the trees and bush which have pollen & nectar for the bees.
- All through our property are plants and shrubs that our bees gather either pollen or honey from in early February.
- Trees are the Willow, Alder, Maple, Cedar, Arbutus and Chokecherry trees.
- Shrubs’ are Indian Plum, Snow Berry, Wild currant, Creeping Blackberry and Salal bushes.
- Bees get their water from ponds and pools in the area; they will have dust and possible contamination in the water which will affect bees.
- Queens mate in the air, with dust it will make it more difficult for them.
- Water: being on wells, there is a concern, should it damage or change the water table with the digging of such a large pit.
We would appreciate you considering all these things as this is our livelihood.
Thank you very much.
Rodney & Josephine Moody
Dave and Wendy Watkins Concerns and Rebuttal
We have lived in the Douglas Hill, Cobble Hill Area since 1986. We wish to speak up against the application now put before your office by Balme Ayr Farms Ltd.
We believe the application you are now considering does not meet the guidelines under the ALC’s mandate, i.e. The ALC acts on behalf of the “WHOLE” agricultural community and does not favour one applicant at the expense of the other farmers in the surrounding area.
In addition to the foregoing, the application, if it were to be approved, would place at great risk the following areas:
a) The precious “Ground Water Aquifer” could be compromised. The details of the “Ground Water Aquifer” are outlined in a report prepared for the CVRD in May 2011 (A Guide to the use of Intrinsic Aquifer Vulnerability Mapping). The report shows that Balme’s farm, across the Island Highway from the proposed area, is in the “High Risk” category, while the proposed site is described as “Moderate Risk”. This is, of course, a status quo report and does not contemplate the high intensity mining of gravel on such a profound scale. Once the aquifer is gone, it’s gone forever!!
These are photos of a possible entry point on Cowichan Bay Road for the proposed gravel pit – note the ground water protection sign!
b) The health and safety of the denizens of the surrounding area, both the residents of the sub-divisions and the local farms, are at risk. Their health and safety would be compromised by the massive increase of gravel trucks traveling back and forth to the pit. This has been estimated at 200 trips a day. The noise pollution and the “silica” in the air could have a dramatic and long lasting effect on the crops of the small farm holdings, i.e. the asparagus farm, the apiary, as well as the lungs of residents and their children traveling to and from school close by. We must protect our children!
c) The loss of habitat, which is so essential to the well being of the community and to the flora and fauna that supports many of the small but very productive agricultural endeavours such as the apiary, would be threatened.
d) Lastly, but essential to the financial well being of the residents of Douglas Hill and others in the immediate area, the loss of property value created by a new industrial business so close to their homes would be catastrophic. We lose, but the Balmes gain!
When we first decided to move to the area over 27 years ago, we were very cognizant of the bucolic nature of Cobble Hill. This did not deter us, for we not only support farming, but we also embrace the “country” style of life – we don’t mind it when they “muck” out the fields. The overwhelming upsides of living in this locale far outweigh the small downsides. In addition, we were also aware of the small industrial holding in the gravel pit on Cowichan Bay Road/Shearing Road. This pit is now depleted and the consequences of gravel mining have been removed.
So with this knowledge, we made our decision to build and raise a family in this neighbourhood.
We first learned of the Balme Ayr application about two weeks prior to the “public” information meeting at Cobble Hill Hall. This meeting was held the day before the vote went before the CVRD for approval. It gave us very little time to prepare our opposition to the project. We talked to all the farmers affected immediately by the proposed gravel pit to hear their side of the story and how they saw the impact of this application on their farms:
1) Venturi-Schulze Winery
2) Pedrosa’s Asparagus Farm
3) Rod-Jo Moody Apiaries
4) Kilrenny Farm
We talked to the above farmers directly and to other farmers in public meetings. All expressed grave concerns over the project. They all indicated that the application, if approved, would have a direct negative effect on their ability to maintain their products at the high levels of quality and quantity they strive for. In addition, they felt this would diminish their ability to maintain staffing levels and indeed grow their agricultural businesses. It goes without saying, if the quality of their products drop due to contaminants, people will not be buying them!
We also became very active in conducting a petition of the Douglas Hill sub-division to glean the basic underlying concerns for this project. The Douglas Hill petition showed that 93% of the residents canvassed were not in favour of the gravel pit application. The consensus showed deep concerns over any new gravel pit operation close to Douglas Hill. These concerns were centered on financial loss with property values, risk to water and air quality, and safety of families using Cowichan Bay Road.
We have reviewed the application by the Balmes put before the CVRD, and we presume that this is the same application that sits before the Commission. The application is, in our mind, thinly disguised as an “agricultural” request, i.e.:
We would like to expand our current property so that we can get full crop production out of the land. To do this, we need to create a gravel pit over the 86.5 acres, which we will then, through remediation with “clean” fill and reshaping of the land, bring it into full crop production. This mining function will not place the ground water under stress and the noise, pollution and safety issues are just at a normal level for this type of enterprise. Trust us!
In our opinion, this application is about “money”, and nothing else. They need the ALC to give the green light to start the gravel pit. Are the Balmes committed to sustainable farming? Their background would certainly support this, however, will this motivation and desire be “top of mind” when the money starts to flow? Nobody knows!
The Balmes appear to be aggrieved on many issues and use this as rationale for their endeavors:
The Department of Highways built a median across the highway, making it difficult to access our pasture and cattle. Basically true, however this didn’t stop them building a $2.4 million (their figures) barn on their property after this was completed.
They state that they require pasture urgently over the medium term, given the conditions of their current relations with the “Dougan” rental land. However, they are prepared to wait over a period of 15 to 20 years during the currency of this project before full production is obtained.
The Balmes say they will truck in “clean” fill to replace the gravel removed. No mention is made of what “clean” fill is, whose standards are applied, or where this fill will come from!
The writer has over 40 years banking experience, specializing in Commercial loans at a high level. The writer is fully aware that plans are just that, plans. The driver of such plans are economic cycles and given that the initial period is 15 years, the writer suggests that this would at a minimum, cover at least three economic cycles. At the moment the demand for gravel is high. The Balmes will, no doubt, be faced with the opposite over time. So the plan to piecemeal this project is dependent on this economic variable, for which they have no control. The project could easily stretch to 20 years or more. The surrounding farms and residents will be living with this uncertainty!
Text from CVRD resolution, August 27, 2013:
We have taken the liberty of “cutting and pasting” the following from the Agricultural Land Commission Act for ease of reference:
Purposes of the commission
6 The following are the purposes of the commission:
(a) to preserve agricultural land;
(b) to encourage farming on agricultural land in collaboration with other communities of interest;
(c) to encourage local governments, first nations, the government and its agents to enable and accommodate farm use of agricultural land and uses compatible with agriculture in their plans, bylaws and policies.
(a) To preserve agricultural land:
If a holistic point of view of the entire agricultural land base in the immediate area to the Balme’s property is taken with respect to this application, then there is a need for grave concern. We believe the severe industrial impact the operation of this gravel pit will have on the neighbouring farms could actually diminish and reduce the overall agricultural base. This impact could last over a period of 15 to 20 years. This, you will agree, is unsatisfactory.
So the answer to this question must be a negative.
(b) To encourage farming on agricultural land in collaboration with other communities of interest.
The Balme application fails miserably to accomplish this for there is no evidence of collaboration with other farms or the community. The surrounding farms are outraged and are fighting with all their might to stop this application. The residential community is also furious over this type of industrial project, being so close to their homes. They fear the threat of pollution of their water supply and air, industrial and traffic noise, and most importantly, they fear for the safety of their children, traveling to and from the local school on Cowichan Bay Road.
So the answer to this question must be a negative.
(c) To encourage local governments etc…
This application has been voted down by an 8 to 1 margin by the CVRD. Below please find a copy of the outline of the resolution passed by the CVRD on August 27, 2013
In conclusion, we ask the Commission to turn this application aside because it fails to meet the basic tenets of the Commission’s mandate. The Balmes have the right to develop their property to its fullest extent under the zoning allowed by the ALR, however, they have the responsibility to ensure that any commercial development does not infringe on the rights of their neighbours. As well, they should ensure that it does not diminish their neighbours’ ability to continue their livelihoods in a safe and healthy environment. Turning the application aside would do the following:
A. Preserve the existing neighbouring farms, plus Balme’s farm would not be turned into an industrial zone,
B. It would encourage the existing farms to expand and promote their products and
C. It would encourage the existing farms to promote farming instead of developing lucrative gravel and fill pits.
Thank you very much for considering our community’s concerns.
We strongly object to this plan for the following reasons:
HEALTH & ENVIRONMENT: The serious health risks of silica and other fine mineral particulates associated with aggregate mining and transportation cannot be ignored:
- August 2013 – US federal regulators propose to slash worker silica exposure by 80% in recognition of the serious health hazards. http://bigstory.ap.org/article/govt-seeks-new-limits-silica-dust
- Worksafe BC stresses dangers of silica dust (this link opens a Microsoft Word document) Developing a silica exposure control plan – WorkSafeBC.com
- The World Health Organization recognizes the danger to health of silica dust, including in outdoor operations and has prepared several fact sheets including the following: http://www.who.int/peh/Occupational_health/OCHweb/OSHpages/OSHDocuments/Factsheets/Silicosis.htm
- A respirator is required to filter out silica dust. A dust mask is not effective against the cancer-causing and silicosis causing particles. http://precast.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/respiratorsafety.pdf
- The less than 10 micron silicate particles that are associated with any aggregate mining operation are light particles that are invisible and can travel large distances. They are class 1 carcinogens which cannot be expelled from the lungs. The longer the exposure, the greater the risk of incurable illnesses. http://envepi.med.uoeh-u.ac.jp/icoh/SILICA%20Document.html.
- Concerns about the health of the children living in the immediate area and attending Bench Elementary (playground 700 metres from the subject property) are not exaggerated. The reasoning expressed by the applicants that there are no reasonable grounds for complaining when there are already gravel pits in the area is flawed. First, the others are not on ALR, but more importantly, the health of the community will be more at risk by another gravel pit in the area, as the effects are cumulative, they have already had significant exposure and there is no way to eliminate the escaping fine silica particles.
It is unreasonable to force an environment on our families and farm workers for 15 years or more where the only way to prevent inhalation of silica dust is to wear respirators. It is not possible to carry out the tasks necessary for viticulture and other farm work while wearing respirators. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible. This is an unreasonable risk particularly for our children (including our resident 20 month old grandson Connor and young Oliver Kissinger and his baby brother, residing with their parents immediately behind the subject property with no buffer), and for the resident patriarchs of the neighbouring farm families, including our own, in their 70s and 80s.
WATER AND THE IMPACT ON OUR ABILITY TO FARM: We are extremely concerned about what impact the excavation of such a large area close to our farm would have on the water table and available water on our farm, in both quantity and quality. The water table is extremely important to the surrounding farms. Having invested 26 years in creating natural systems here that are sustainable for future generations, it was rather shocking to discover that neighbours can apparently completely bypass an initial process of public consultation. Clean fill is in very limited supply and soil suitable for agriculture is extremely expensive. This is why so many gravel pits in our region have contaminated fill and are abandoned before being reclaimed.
SAFETY: The south access road to the subject property Vineyard Road (which becomes Trans Canada Hwy access road, then Wilmot as it intersects with Koksilah) is the only access to our property and is used by visitors to our vineyard and wine shop. It is extremely narrow and has very poor visibility as vehicles approach the crest of the hill. Shelley Balme called me in the past with concerns about the safety of the road with their farm equipment and what to do about it. The road is not wide enough for two lanes and is unable to be widened in front of our property as it sits atop a high concrete block retaining wall. Any gravel truck traffic would present grave danger to us and our customers, many of whom are tourists unfamiliar with the area. While there is no mention in the written proposal of using our access road, it has been extensively discussed as an option to reduce traffic flow near the Douglas Hill subdivision.
TRAFFIC: Our house, located at the front of our property, shook whenever one of the logging trucks coming from the subject property passed and cracks have appeared in foundations and drywall. Our home was built in 1893 and extensively renovated and updated, but during and after the highway improvement project between Dougan Lake and Koksilah involving excavation of land bordering the front of the property to widen the highway and provide the access road, it appears that this road is not suitable for heavy truck traffic such as logging trucks travelling at the speed they did (and presumably gravel trucks) and the stability of our home would be at risk.
CROP QUALITY: Apart from the well-documented health risks of the fine silica and other natural mineral based particulates (see first paragraph), dust on any crop is damaging. Atmospheric pollutants have a negative effect on plants; they can have direct toxic effects, or indirectly by changing soil pH followed by solubilisation of toxic salts of metals like aluminum. The dust and dirt have a negative mechanical effect. They cover the leaf surface reducing light penetration and blocking the opening of stomata, the “holes” through which the plants takes in CO2 and release O2 in the process of photosynthesis. These impediments strongly influence the process of photosynthesis which rate declines sharply, directly influencing the quality of the crop. http://www.intechopen.com/books/the-impact-of-air-pollution-on-health-economy-environment-and-agricultural-sources/the-effects-of-air-pollutants-on-vegetation-and-the-role-of-vegetation-in-reducing-atmospheric-pollu
Dust build-up on our vines, particularly in dry seasons, has a direct impact on our particular agricultural product, reducing photosynthesis and subsequent sugar levels in the fruit, and the grapes cannot be washed before processing. We avoid tilling during drought seasons such as 2013 when dust buildup on leaves and fruit cannot be washed off by showers.
NOISE: The noise and dust inherent with gravel pits and gravel trucks would have an adverse effect on the extremely important agri-tourism aspect of our farm business. This is a particularly competitive market globally and we need to maintain the continued ability to offer events using our wine and other products (particularly our balsamic vinegar, jams and jellies) to attract tour companies and customers to our farmgate and maintain an environment that supports the pureness of our products.
EQUIPMENT: Sand particles and silica dust are abrasives that can cause damage to the sensitive machinery and pumps used for processing our crop and transferring our juice.
VALUE and FUTURE DEVELOPMENT: The current integrity and value added agricultural production of our farming property is worth preserving. We have built our reputation on being 100% estate grown. It has taken us 26 years of research and innovation to get our family farm to where it is today. To start over elsewhere, assuming we could purchase a property with the right mix of forest, ecosystems, soil, water table and south to southwest slopes, would require many millions of dollars in addition to land purchase and at least nine years before we had any income. If we were dairy farmers growing grass, we could plant land and get a crop the following year. In addition, my daughter, who has worked almost 20 years at the vineyard (her entire adult life) and her family are in the process of moving onto the property and further expanding and diversifying the farming and agri-tourism operations.
Background Information About Our Vineyard and the Gravel Pit Application
My husband and I own and farm a 30 acre parcel of land to the west of the subject property (which we refer to as “Jenny Balme’s place”). A 5 acre parcel of land owned and farmed by Dr. Paul Kamill and his wife separates us from Jenny’s place.
We purchased our first 15 acres in 1987 from the Westermans and planted a small vineyard, building a winery in 1990 and starting our artisan ancient method balsamic vinegary in that year as well. In 1993 we became a licensed farm-based winery called Venturi-Schulze Vineyards. In 1999 we purchased 15 additional adjoining acres from our then neighbours Dr. Charles and Jill Ennals to bring the plantable area to an acceptable level for our needs. We have spent the last 26 years developing Venturi-Schulze Vineyards into a sustainable, ecologically sound farming operation that now supports two families (ours and our daughter’s) with succession planning in place. In spite of the fact that most of the original 15 acre parcel is unsuited to agriculture due to its topography (a deep ravine and spring-fed creek occupy a large portion), this forested area contributes to the beauty and sustainability of the farm, can be further enjoyed for agri-tourism purposes and plays an important role in maintaining the level of the water table and allowing us to grow grapes without irrigation, thereby avoiding the detrimental increases in salinity associated with irrigation that have in extreme cases, such as the vineyard and orchard areas of the Murray River valley in Australia, resulted in large tracts of desert where lush land once existed. We have conducted much research over the years and have been invited to speak at international organic agriculture symposia. We consider ourselves very lucky to farm land that, prior to our purchasing it, had little agricultural value and which has not seen applications of pesticides or herbicides in at least 56 years. We also are lucky to have well water (periodically tested) for our home and garden that is pure and clean.
While I was aware that the Balmes have been logging the property and have heard rumours, I know Oliver and Shelley Balme and since they had not contacted us in any way about plans for non-farm development of the property, I did not take rumours seriously.
It was not until mid-July that I saw a flyer distributed by another neighbour, did a search and watched 2 videos of CVRD meetings about the planned development including extracting and processing gravel and bringing in fill to rehabilitate the land for productive agricultural use.
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY AND BIASED PRESENTATION OF FACTS
I have the utmost respect for the applicants and for director Giles, but there appears to be a problem with presenting the facts. Mrs. Giles was under the impression that Oliver and Shelley had contacted their neighbours regarding this project. We had never been contacted; nor had the immediate neighbours to the west of the subject property, Dr. Paul Kamill and his wife, or the Pedrosas, or the other two property owners west of them whose properties adjoin the north side of the subject property.
The applicants and their consultant Brian French presented the project as a viable way for the Balmes to improve their land for agriculture, particularly to rehabilitate the portion of the subject property that is classified 7T, not arable because of topography limitations. I understand this. My concern is the impact this will have on us and other farming neighbours in terms of water quantity and quality, traffic, noise, dust, safety and our ability to continue to be successful in agriculture that relies on agri-tourism to be financially viable. But as big a concern is the fill that is proposed to be trucked in. It is naïve to think that 3,200,000 cubic metres of clean fill can be found.
“Clean fill” is usually defined as inert, uncontaminated soil, rock, sand, gravel, concrete, asphaltic concrete, cinder blocks and brick free of landscape waste, exposed metal bars (rebar), waste or garbage materials and chemicals. It never includes garbage such as household waste. It is extremely hard to come by in significant quantities. Businesses pay handsomely for options to get rid of fill that is not clean and unfortunately a lot ends up in gravel pit fill, projects originally presented as “rehabilitation” proposals or not. Recent Ministry of Energy and Mines testing of fill in CVRD gravel pits has revealed an alarming number containing contaminated fill, so obviously what ends up in fill sites is not adequately controlled. Director Giles has been a leader in working to rectify the existing alarming contamination of the Cobble Hill water supply.
The proposal states that the applicants intend to extract gravel, import clean fill and rehabilitate the land for productive agricultural use in 9 phases because they need to increase their land base and purchasing land is expensive. Also mentioned is that Phase 1 on the south east corner of the subject property will contain processing activities such as washing, screening, crushing etc. and will remain there for the estimated 15 year duration of the project. 15 years of noise, dust, traffic and possible contamination of groundwater and all the other issues to help a neighbour rehabilitate his land can only be considered if the neighbours we know and trust (the Balmes) come to an agreement to not impact the ability of neighbouring farms to continue to operate their pristine and sustainable agri-tourism farm businesses successfully, demonstrate that their motives are as presented and continue to farm that land and not sell that land before the rehabilitation is complete. Most importantly, the Balmes should define “clean fill” and provide evidence that they can get it in sufficient quantity and also present a failsafe plan to ensure that no contaminated fill (which could potentially impact the water table in the Cobble Hill/Cowichan Bay and surrounding area) ever gets dumped there. (My husband and I are runners. We used to run frequently by the gravel pit on Lakeside by Wilmot and were surprised to see trucks dumping at night and heavy machinery working to cover up the loads.)
Director Giles stated in relation to the noise concern of the residents of the Douglas Hill subdivision that the processing will be done far from that area, where in fact the processing facility is shown on the plan on Phase1 on the south east corner of the subject property, the area closest to the residential area. The South Cowichan Official Community Plan does not permit temporary use permits for industrial processing on farms. Any processing of aggregate would require at least a portion of the land to be removed from the ALR and rezoned Industrial.
The subject property is not the only option available to the Balmes to increase their farmland holdings. I do not begrudge them wanting to turn acreage that has become unprofitable for them to operate since highway improvements cut off their direct access into a much more lucrative gravel and fill business, but not at the expense of other farmers and the community in general. The community and the CVRD would support any effort to use the land for more suitable and profitable farming endeavours, or facilitate selling it to finance the purchase of suitable land.
Venturi-Schulze Vineyards was selected this year by a team of Canada’s most celebrated chefs and writers as one of Canada’s 20 top artisan food producers. Our wines, ancient method balsamic vinegar and other culinary products, 100% grown here on our Cobble Hill/Cowichan Bay farm, are served at many fine restaurants, including The Herbfarm Restaurant in Woodinville Washington, voted by National Geographic as the top destination restaurant in the world. 100% of our income is derived from our farm and our farm is our only financial asset. We have no negative impact on the environment and have up to 12 employees who all live in the CVRD. We contribute to the international reputation of our area and bring clean dollars into our community through enhancing tourism. It is easy to simplify this issue and call the project not a gravel pit, but an altruistic method of reclaiming agricultural land, but the current process is flawed and until conditions of development proposals such as this are adequately monitored and enforced, the risks are too high to approve until questions from the community are answered.
Marilyn Venturi on behalf of myself, my husband Giordano Venturi and daughter Michelle Schulze