The few people who showed up to the first of our open houses on the City’s proposed agricultural plan expressed support for the idea.
City of Kamloops planners were at Bert Edwards elementary school Thursday night with a draft of the Agriculture Area plan.
The plan is intended to foster agriculture beyond simple zoning in a city once known as the “agricultural Eden,” with hundreds of hectares of fruit and vegetable production as well as a number of canneries in its past.
Bill Hadgkiss attended the first meeting to express his concern how the proposed Ajax open pit mine may affect farming here.
“They’re doing all this work — do they know how much the mine will mess things up?”
Hadgkiss said the mine will remove rangeland and could compromise air emissions and potential croplands.
“We have to stand up for farmland. You can’t eat gold or copper.”
Fewer than six people attended during the first hour of the open house Thursday evening.
Anne Grube, part of the family that operates Golden Ears Farm in Chase, said she’s skeptical anything concrete will come out of the planning exercise.
But she said part of the future for farming is growing food in backyards.
“I see us producing more food within cities. That’s a long-range thing.”
City developer Bill Bilton, who is currently trying to remove some land at the Dunes in Westsyde within the ALR, said the city needs a balance between food production and houses.
“We’re running out of land to grow food. Good development has to take everything into consideration.”
Like Grube, Bilton believes much more food production can come from residential areas in Brocklehurst and North Kamloops, areas with rich soils.
“These lots are 10,000 square feet. You could take 5,000 and grow food. We need to educate people about what we can do.”
City community development supervisor Randy Lambright said the municipality has a role in fostering agriculture, including promoting it among young people.
“We might work through parks and recreation. One of our mandates at the Tournament Capital Ranch (softball site in Rayleigh) is land around it needs to be turned back to agriculture.”
The plan is expected to go to a council workshop in October. Open houses are planned Oct. 21 at Tournament Capital Ranch, Oct. 23 at ISC and Oct. 24 at Barnhartvale Community Hall.