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Agriculture advisory committee established, to begin in the next term of council

A new Agriculture and Rural Affairs Advisory Committee of Council is being established, to begin work in the next term of council. At least one-third of rural members (2 of 6) will be drawn from existing participants in the ad hoc rural advisory committee that currently meets. Committee of the Whole voted Sept. 10 to endorse terms of reference for a formal rural advisory committee, send them for review to the new committee, then bring final recommendations back to council in February 2019. The committee will meet every second month and provide advice to council on a range of matters aimed at “conserving the area’s rural character and protecting and enhancing its natural environment, while enabling the rural economy to evolve and change.”

Projects that ARAAC may provide feedback on include the Official Plan, rural strategy, community trails, rural active transportation, urban agriculture, and more.

The recommendation heads to council Sept. 24 for final approval. Residents can attend, watch the webcast of the meeting online (also carried on Cogeco TV), or Register as a Delegation to speak to the item.

My Take: Half of Burlington’s land is rural area, yet until now the city hasn’t had a formal rural advisory committee; an ad hoc group of rural residents, staff and rural council members met for a number of years. During the recent Official Plan discussions, one of the motions I co-sponsored with Councillor Taylor (whose Ward 3 is half rural) was to establish a formal rural advisory committee, so I’m pleased to see this move forward. Before finalizing the terms of reference, however, we need to consult with existing committee members, so I supported Councillor Taylor’s motion to consult and and report back with changes in Feb. 2019. I also brought an amendment to ensure a minimum number of existing rural members (one-third) be added to the new committee, for continuity. That was also approved.

Written by Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made.

As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington.

The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful.

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  1. Marianne, the Agricultural Advisory Committee is a very good first step. For those of us who have sat on City Advisory Committees, we realized that most of these committees are not given any budget and much of what comes in the way of recommendations are basically ignored unless they are in line with the existing City policy. In my opinion, true engagement would be for committees to remain independent and present their recommendations to the City.

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