A scaled-down version of a rejected proposal to fill in a former horse track on a Langley farm was endorsed by Township council on Monday, April 13.
All Seasons Mushrooms farm owner Frank Moscone reduced the amount of fill he intends to use to reclaim a horse oval on his property at 3468 224 Street for agriculture.
It was originally going to be 54,900 cubic metres, or around 8,000 truck loads, an amount considered disruptive by some neighbours.
By adjusting the design and mixing in some of the mushroom manure generated on-site, the revised All Season proposal would use 47,400 cubic metres or around 7,000 truck loads, a 14 per cent reduction.
Moscone originally said he might use the reclaimed land to grow hay, but told Monday’s meeting it could also be for blueberry growing.
“All I want to do is make that land acceptable for farming,” Moscone told council.
As it is, the unused 10-acre oval has “very poor soil” and is “basically a dead resource” Moscone said.
While critics and some on council still had doubts about the amount of material and concerns about the impact of the truck traffic, Councillor Michelle Sparrow spoke for the majority when she said the plan will reclaim agricultural land for agricultural purposes and that was a good thing.
“I think that’s what we should be encouraging in this community,” Sparrow said.
Mayor Jack Froese agreed, calling Moscone “a good farmer.”
The new plan was approved by a six-to-three vote of council, with Councillors Petrina Arnason, Charlie Fox and David Davis opposed.
With the Township endorsement, the proposal now goes to the Agricultural Land Commission, the provincial regulatory agency in charge of protected farmland within the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The horse training track is part of a former equestrian facility that closed down before All Seasons purchased the property.
The company website describes All Seasons as one of the most prominent “certified organic” mushroom production and marketing companies on the West Coast.
The Langley-based company operates multiple production and distribution operations in B.C. and Alberta.