The question of allowing open burning on rural properties in Langford was a hot topic at the Feb. 16 regular meeting of Langford council.
Council decided to table the issue of whether to ban open burning on two-acre lots in the Agricultural Land Reserve following objections from Coun. Matt Sahlstrom.
Sahlstrom said he’s never had anyone complain about burning on the 30 years he’s lived on his one-acre property on Walfred Road.
“Lots of my neighbours have two-acre properties and it makes more sense to do that,” Sahlstrom said in an interview with the Gazette. “We phone in and get a permit, and not everyone burns at once. I burn smart, hot and clean.”
Most of his neighbours are on two-acre lots and some have lived there for 60 years, he noted.
“There’s no negative impact on the environment when it’s done responsibly. I’m against a ban on large properties because it’s just another unnecessary restriction. Clearing deadfall and underbrush are part and parcel of living on a rural property.”
Fireplaces and wood stoves burn most of the year throughout the community and no one complains, he said.
Coun. Lillian Szpak said they have heard from the farming community and will work together to improve the air quality.
Towers project downsizes, again
A 12-storey development proposed on Goldstream Avenue near Fairway has been was downsized once again. The original plan that proposed two 12-storey towers had previously been reduced to six and nine storeys. Langford council gave the bylaw to rezone 647 Goldstream Ave. first reading on Feb. 16. The project has been limited to two towers of six storeys following concerns from residents in the neighbourhood about the height and density.
Council also directed staff to work on trying to obtain access/egress from the development directly onto Goldstream Avenue.
Coun. Denise Blackwell, chair of Langford’s planning, zoning and affordable housing committee, said she expects the project will go to a public hearing in March.
Langford leaps into live stream
Council has decided to join the majority of municipalities in the Capital Region by making live-streaming of council meetings available.
Langford recently made recorded audio of meetings available and will add camera live streaming as well once the restrictions on attending council meetings arising from COVID-19 are lifted, said Szpak.
“The technology is there and we wanted to make that available to the community once council is back in chambers,” Szpak explained. “That will contribute to greater transparency.”