N.S. steps in on Annapolis Valley ag land rezoning

Citing the “lack of clarity” in a municipality’s plans, the Nova Scotia government will hold a ministerial review of a proposal to rezone some protected farmland in the Annapolis Valley.

According to a provincial release Friday, the Municipality of the County of Kings applied last month to have just under 380 acres of land between Greenwich and Wolfville rezoned from agricultural to residential and commercial.

Kings’ application “did not adequately explain” how the municipality would protect Wolfville’s drinking water supply, nor the need for residential and commercial development on protected ag land, the province said.

The province’s government services and municipal relations department said Friday that as a result of its review of the application, it would now be forwarded to the department’s minister — in this case, John MacDonell, who also oversees the ag department — for his review.

MacDonell now has up to 60 days to issue a decision on the matter, the province said, adding that his decision is to be based on whether Kings’ application is “consistent” with the province’s Municipal Government Act.

The municipality’s decision has come under fire in recent weeks from a Kings County community group dubbed No Farms No Food.

The group contends there’s “an abundance” of other appropriately zoned land already available in the region for development.

The group also says the rezoning would ruin wildlife habitat and agri-tourism areas and would specifically block nearby farmers from keeping bees on their property.

While much of the land in question is owned by local farmers favouring its non-agricultural development, the No Farms No Food group also says the proposal would involve expropriating some ag land from a farm wanting to maintain its current zoning.

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