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Leamington council looks to 'mend relationship between residents and growers'

During the 2022 municipal election, different communities are focused on different issues. In Leamington and Kingsville, one of the big ones is the rapidly growing greenhouse sector. From lighting bylaws to water supply, greenhouse odor, zoning, housing, temporary foreign workers, and red tape, municipally elected officials play a key role in regulating the local greenhouse sector.

Dave Metcalfe, also a Leamington council candidate, said he'd like to see the council find common sense solutions to clear away red tape. "The economic impact this industry has on this community," Metcalfe said. "That's really important." It's also a highly regulated industry, the results of which often turn into community flashpoints.

The most recent example is the "Dark Skies Provision," where night-time grow lighting bylaws were put in place by the town in an effort to reduce evening light pollution while also allowing growers to maximize output. But some residents still aren't satisfied, and some growers remain equally frustrated with growing amounts of red tape.

Jimmy Simoni is a retired farmer who is running for mayor against incumbent Hilda MacDonald and challenger Cris Biron. Simoni also went on Thursday's tour and says he's sympathetic to growers' concerns.

"There's a severe disconnect between residents and community of Leamington and the greenhouse farmers, and I want to mend that connection back again," Simoni said.

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