Neguac gardener wins fight to keep greenhouses, garden on property

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Neguac gardener wins fight to keep greenhouses, garden on property

Paul Albert says he's happy he didn't give up his fight to keep his greenhouses on his father's land and continued to plant his gardens in Neguac, N.B. 

After a short trial in provincial court March 14, a judge found Albert not guilty of building the two structures without a building permit.

The village of Neguac took legal action after Albert refused to move or dismantle the greenhouses, which sit on an easement to an NB Power substation and transmission line. 

Albert also refused to apply to have the property, owned by his father, Edgar, rezoned the way the village requested. 

"I basically got off on a technicality because they didn't disclose enough information to me...they didn't disclose to me a true copy of the rural plan," Albert said. 

After Albert's lawyer objected to the rules of disclosure, the judge issued the ruling.

Future plans

Albert says the village now has to leave him alone.

"The case just wasn't dismissed, the verdict was given. I'm not guilty."

Marcel Brideau, Neguac's executive administration officer, was not available for comment. 

Albert plans to continue growing and selling his vegetables from the property and says he has plans for expansion.

"It will be business as usual."

Albert had applied to have the property rezoned as a mixed zone, meaning it could be used for residential and agriculture. 

But in an earlier interview, he said the Acadian Peninsula's Regional Service Commission (CRSPA) asked him to have the land rezoned as an integrated zone, meaning he'd have to make up plans for the property's long-term use and couldn't change them. 

'Work in peace'

Albert said while he's glad it's over, he wishes he hadn't had to go through the nearly two-year-long fight and a number of court delays.

"It could have been solved by talking to each other and coming to some agreement, but they wanted to follow the letter of their bylaw to the letter without looking at the spirit of the the rural plan," he said.

Albert said the rural plan indicates it wants to support agriculture and small business, but said it's odd that when a person wants to do something contrary to the plan, they wind up in court. 

"I don't call that supporting agriculture or new businesses." 

With the trial behind him, Albert said he's happy he fought and won and says he learned a lot about the law and property rights through the process. 

"The future's going to be a whole lot different for me, I think," he said. "I'm not just going to give up. I'm going to do my work in peace now."