May 28, 2014

Groups unite to fight countryside disruption

As published in The Erin Advocate

Two groups concerned about the impact of equestrian events and imported fill have united to form Neighbourhood Connections, and have urged Town Council to hold public workshops on land use in agricultural areas.

Anna Spiteri appeared as a delegation on May 20, opposed to the temporary bylaw that council later passed, enabling Angelstone Farms to proceed with their equestrian season. 
She also demanded tougher restrictions on potentially disruptive rural events, which council did at least partially through a new Major Events bylaw.

“We expect council to protect the rights and quality of life of all Town of Erin residents,” said Spiteri. “We feel overlooked, not listened to. So we have joined forces to make our voices stronger.”

About 20 families and other supporters had been in two groups, concerned about noise and other issues at Angelstone events on County Road 50 near the Town Line, and about fill and possible noise from Meadowlarke North, an equestrian facility being developed by Anthea Larke just over 3 km to the north, on the Third Line.

The group is concerned that small businesses could grow into large ones without adequate Town control.

“Should operations such as Angelstone and Meadowlarke North continue to be unregulated and allowed to go unchecked, soon other ‘wannabe’ operations will be sprouting up everywhere,” said Spiteri.

Planner Sally Stull said the Town was already preparing an update of its Official Plan, which will provide opportunities for public consultation about agricultural land use.

The group supports the new Major Events bylaw, but is requesting a range of Town actions:

• Restrictions on the number of permits per calendar year to control overall community impact.

• A maximum number of hours per day for activities.

• Measurable auditory restrictions.

• Higher permit application fees.

• An enforceable Noise Bylaw for agricultural areas, which does not exist now.

• Lighting restrictions.