Greenhouse light reduction bylaw being challenged

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A farm operation in Leamington is challenging the municipality’s greenhouse light abatement bylaw.

Great Lakes Greenhouses Inc. is taking the matter to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board.

The company alleges the Municipality of Leamington bylaw is restricting a normal farm practice.

“What has transpired is Great Lakes and I presume there to be a fair number of others that will take this to a situation called the Normal Farm Practices Board because lighting is considered a normal farm practice as it is writing in the regulations,” says Joseph Sbrocchi, general manager of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association.

Sbrocchi says the greenhouse sector wants to work with municipalities to come up with a solution that is right for all.

“They’re challenging the bylaw as it stands because it’s a disabler to them, they need to have flexibility. The greenhouse sector wants wants to be a good citizen. We are willing to go to whatever extreme we can within reason.” says Sbrocchi. “As far as our sector is concerned we have the right, it’s in the regulation to use lighting. If the Canadian population is to have locally produced food 365 days a year, you can only do it that way, with lighting.”

The municipality of Leamington says they anticipated applications to the provincial agency.

A statement from the municipality to CTV news is as follows:

“The Municipality anticipated that there may be applications to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board in response to the passing of the Greenhouse Light Abatement By-law. The Municipality intends to respond to any such application and take the appropriate steps to ensure that the health, safety and environmental concerns of the community are appropriately balanced against the needs of the agricultural industry. For this reason, the Municipality intends to present evidence related to light pollution and the effects of the same on human health and the environment, including migratory birds and wildlife. In connection with this application, since the hearing dates are set very early on in this process, it has become clear that new hearing dates are required to provide the Municipality’s consultants with sufficient time to collect and analyze the required data, and prepare their respective opinions.”

Hearing dates have been set for the weeks of July 12 and July 19, 2021.