From: RBG In the News

Janelle at YEGCC

In late February 2013, the Edmonton City Council held a public hearing regarding the Horse Hills North East Area Structure Plan (ASP). As this ASP has direct and dangerous consequences for Riverbend Gardens, Janelle spoke to city council about preserving agricultural land in the North East and how this ASP would change life not only for Riverbend Gardens but for Edmonton’s local food scene. Her speech to Edmonton City Council is as follows:

Hello councillors,

My name is Janelle Herbert. My husband Aaron and I own and operate Riverbend Gardens, a 3rd generation market garden within the ASP. We sell at 7 Edmonton and area farmers’ markets and we have a CSA box delivery program. We own 140 acres within the ASP.

In the last five years I have had 3 babies, my mom lost her three year battle with breast cancer, I have thrived through the sharp learning curves of farming and running a business. I have continued to advocate for agricultural land in the north east because I believe in the value of local food. I believe this agricultural land has great value, I love what I do and I find great purpose in it. We have loyal customers and supporters. I see a bright future in Edmonton’s local food economy and I see great things happening here in Edmonton.

I want to make it clear, I want to continue farming and am doing everything in my capacity to make that happen. I am trying to find a way for agriculture to thrive in Edmonton like it has for the past 60 years. I often feel overwhelmed with my responsibilities but I persevere because of all the support I have from citizens. I push through the hard times because that’s what farmers do, it’s in my blood. I see the value of my profession and I fight for it to continue on. I believe that what we are advocating for is right. It is so hard for me to understand all the policies and the planning and everything this entails.

Please see the map, and where my farm is.Screen-Shot-2013-02-28-at-8.26.20-AM

The highway wipes out my house, all my infrastructure, my access to the river, all my buildings, my barns, my greenhouses, and our livelihood. When and if I start over I will have very little room to do it.

I have been given no good reason why the highway has been placed on top of my property.

This plan sterilizes land for us.

It seems to me that this is a way for the province to get a backdoor approval for expropriation. They are using the ASP to do it. Putting the highway on the ASP is premature. It takes away the rights that we would normally have in an expropriation process.

I don’t accept that the province is telling you how to plan your city.

I want the opportunity to be before the cap. Reg. board before this ASP gets approved, it is not fair to me as a land owner, you don’t have enough information to make this decision, you don’t know how it will impact the landowners.

This is going against all the regular protections we would have in an expropriation process.

This highway is determining the placement of the neighbourhood structure plans. I have been placed in two neighbourhoods. Norbest farms, owned by my uncle, has been placed in 3. We need to be together in one neighbourhood.

You need to move the Highway.

There has been very little study done by the province for the placement of the highway.

This ASP which was created by Stantec, who was hired by the Walton international, & Cameron developments & crest development, is determining the placement of the Provincial Highway.

We have had no opportunity to give input on where the highway is placed and it is not fair.

There has been very little study done in the placement of this road. This ASP no longer allows the provincial road to be conceptual, it is a real line on a map.

Can we please explore the option of putting the highway through the mined out gravel pit south of our farm?

I need you to understand this ASP destroys my farm, in a very unfair way.

PLEASE don’t let my farm slip through your fingers, grab a hold! Give me a step up! Please do something to protect my farm. Please help me. I want to continue farming.