Spallumcheen wants to hear how 106 acres of protected agricultural land can serve producers if converted to industrial use.
Three parcels in the South Spallumcheen industrial area are the focus of the study. All are located within the Agricultural Land Reserve. They’re also adjacent to highways 97 and 97A, making them attractive to industrial users.
The township has received $40,000 through the Local Government Partnership Program, launched last summer and administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, to conduct a feasibility study for the lands. The township has matched the grant with $40,000 of its own.
Urban Systems Ltd. of Vancouver and Zbeetnoff Agro-Environmental Consulting Inc. of White Rock will undertake the work.
An initial consultation took place November 23-December 19, but Spallumcheen planner Carrie Liefke says just 30 responses were received. This prompted the decision to relaunch the survey, which will accept responses through February 22.
“We’re hoping that we can reach a larger audience,” she says, noting that extreme weather in November and then holiday preparations offered participants plenty of distractions.
But the work is no less important.
“We’re looking to see what gaps we might have in our agricultural systems,” she says. “What is the need for agri-industry?”
The township says the research will determine “if agri-industry uses are viable for the study area.”
Okanagan Valley Feeds Ltd. thinks so. It’s building a new feed mill on five acres the ALC approved for exclusion last February. The mill will support local poultry operations. Groundbreaking is set for this spring.
What others uses Spallumcheen could see will be determined in part by the final report, expected in June. The document will be presented to both the Agricultural Land Commission and the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries for consideration as the municipality charts a path forward.
Liefke is optimistic.
“It could bring a lot of value to Spallumcheen and the agricultural producers in our valley,” she says.