UNCOMMON SENSE: Rural community means rural activities

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Since moving to Delta one of the oddest things I’ve come across is the seemingly contradictory nature of some of its residents.

There are people here who enjoy the superficial aspects to a rural landscape, without really wanting to commit to maintaining its rural heritage.

That is to say, they receive visual pleasure from passing by empty farmland on their way to and from work, but it doesn’t mean much to them beyond that.

Delta’s pastoral setting is undoubtedly alluring. Old farmhouses and rundown barns look pretty as they glide by our car windows. But how often does one think about the farmer who owns them?

One of the reasons I ultimately decided the anti-Southlands position was one inherently derived by NIMBY residents who don’t want their Boundary Bay Road drive marred by houses, was the testimony by actual farmers who have done actual farming on the Southlands property.

And in the end, it matters less whether your view of unused farmland is ruined by a few houses if it means that more farmland is put into agricultural production. Because you can’t have farmland without the farmers.

Similarly, I was a little surprised at how angry people were to find out that hunters went onto the Southlands property and killed a dozen geese last month.

Delta is a community for which goose and duck hunting has been going on since before the Coast Salish First Nations had seen a single European face.

Hunting, fishing, and growing is what has sustained the people of this land for countless generations. It seems to me that the people who are angered to hear a few geese were shot among the 125,000 that arrived from Wrangel Island this year are the same ones who like their farmland nice and fallow.

It’s going to be interesting, too, when the Southlands starts getting farmed again. I wonder if those Boundary Bay residents who were so in favour of saving the farmland really understand what productive farmland entails.

Farming is noisy, dusty, and smelly. It begins early in the morning and continues late into the afternoon.

But that is what living in Delta is all about. While we live close to nature, we are not actually a nature preserve.

We are a rural community and rural activities happen here. And I’m OK with that.


• Catch new episodes of Adrian MacNair’s TV show On Topic, which air Sundays at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Delta Cable. This week he’ll be speaking to Eliza Olson  of the Burns Bog Conservation Society and Brad Semke of Century Group about local development.

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