No public comment from North Huron council on Amish farmer’s case

( file photo by John Chippa)

Many questions remain about a property standards matter concerning a young Amish farmer outside of Belgrave.

The subject was discussed at a town hall public meeting in Wingham Monday evening, where several ratepayers demanded answers, but were mostly deflected by Reeve Neil Vincent, who said the matter is before the courts and exact details cannot be discussed publicly.

Reeve Neil Vincent meets with a small group where he was urged to drop any pending legal action against the Amish farmer (Photo by Adam Bell)

A large group attending the September 4 meeting of North Huron council were told Monday’s meeting was where council would take questions from the public, however Vincent led off by saying since September 4, the matter is back before the courts, therefore he and other members of council have been advised not to speak publicly on the matter.

CKNX News has learned that the issue may focus on enforcement of a municipal bylaw that is not in line with provincial legislation.   That means if North Huron was following provincial guidelines, there would not be an issue with the farmer’s property, but is instead following through on an investigation of a municipal bylaw enacted in 2008 that has possibly been changed by revised provincial standards when it comes to raising livestock.

Reeve Vincent said North Huron is willing to do what the court and they have to. He confirms “there may be far-reaching effects of this” noting the effects of a ruling may even go above the county level, and be “province-wide”.      He stated, “If we’re wrong in this, we will definitely make the changes required, but if you tear down any rule or law, be aware of the consequences”.

Ranko Markeljevic, who represents the Amish farmer, has been told he will receive an answer in writing from North Huron council by the end of this week.