Accomplished gardener frustrated with notice from town’s bylaw department

The Town of Sylvan Lake municipal bylaw department does not allow organic gardens in Sylvan Lake.

Dear Editor,

The Town of Sylvan Lake municipal bylaw department does not allow organic gardens in Sylvan Lake. Vegetable gardens that is, or maybe it is just the mulch that they have issues with. No one but the officer in question can answer me and he has been less than helpful with a kind of “do it or else” reply to my questions.

I guess when I got the yellow letter from the bylaw officer I must have gone into shock a bit, because, you see, I volunteer to teach gardening to the public at our local “Eco Loco” events and the “growing green neighbors” dinners.

The town has asked me to do this, because I do this in my yard. Not only do I have 235 varieties and species of edible and medicinal plants growing organically in my yard, I have a community garden in the front yard next to the sidewalk. So I tried to find out what to do. After 17 messages and calls with very few answers or returned calls I have pretty much been told nothing.

So after cleaning up in my back alley area, because yes it has been a long summer and yes I really should have put the canoe back long before now and that part was justified. In fact I have done all that was asked except to remove my mulch, and I can’t because if I do I will be in violation of another law that has to do with invasive weeds.

So if I am forced to get rid of the mulch, then I will be in violation of another bylaw, so the garden will have to go to grass. We had an empty lot on our street for years — there were complaints about the invasive weeds yet the town did nothing for years and so as a result we are infested with Canada thistle, sow thistle, etc.

I had the town’s invasive weed specialist come and look at my yard and apparently I am using best practices to deal with my weeds and the added bonuses of not having to use anywhere near as much water, and the improvement of the tilth of the soil are just good for the whole garden. She is not sure what the to do is all about.

Then when I phoned the Parks and Recreation department and said that I would no longer volunteer for them, they asked why and I told them that I would not put anyone else through what the town bylaw office was putting me through, they too could not figure out what I was doing wrong. They came and inspected my yard, and brought public works with them for a tour of my yard — they cannot figure out the problem with the mulch.

The mayor has been called and he said he would inspect the garden as well, and here’s the kicker, after all these inspections, and phone calls and letters from neighbours saying they like the garden, I have been told there is nothing any of these people including our mayor can do to help me.

Those rumours are true — bylaw is actually God in Sylvan Lake and there is no room in this particular God’s world for an organic vegetable garden. Food, not lawns, has no place in Sylvan Lake. Which is almost funny when you consider the number of meetings these same people drag me to so that we can develop a local food and food security policy. I am usually the only one present not getting paid to attend, and usually the only one that actually does live this way.

So I will have to get rid of my garden, cancel my business plans for my handcrafted herbal products and paradise garden design, explain to the 13 kids on our street that the town does not like gardens so no more pumpkins, tulips, or lily buds, and under the circumstances seriously consider leaving a town that does not support sustainable, organic lifestyles, or gardens.

Janet Schultz,

Sylvan Lake


Just Posted

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Sylvan Lake Atom C Lakers end season on low note

The Lakers played their final home game of the season, Feb. 16.

RDC Kings Hockey to play charity game in Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake Community Partners was chosen by the Kings as the Charity of Choice for the Feb. 22 game

Bibles for Grads 2019 looking for names of Grade 12 students

Bibles for Grads is an annual tradition in Sylvan Lake dating back more than 20 years.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

Hee-Won Son takes home gold in 500m Female Short Track Speed Skating

Team Alberta sits in second place overall at the Canada Winter Games

Shots fired in Maskwacis home invasion

Maskwacis RCMP are searching for three suspects in a home invasion (with photos)

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Crude-by-rail shipments set new record in December despite lower price discounts

Canada exported nearly 354,000 barrels per day of oil, up seven per cent from November

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Most Read