The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is nearing completion of an agricultural area plan (AAP) that will guide ongoing decision making about agriculture within the Sunshine Coast.
After extensive public dialogue including focus groups, open houses, an opinion survey and other citizen engagement activities, the first draft of the plan is now complete.
“The Agricultural Area Plan process has been a great opportunity for residents, farmers and food advocates to connect with one another and think about the importance of food security in agriculture,” said Dale Peterson, chair of the SCRD agricultural advisory committee. “The draft plan has been developed with input from residents and farmers alike.”
Open houses to present the draft plan will be held on Monday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Gibsons and Area Community Centre, and on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Roberts Creek Community Hall.
As part of the AAP, a short video will be introduced at the open houses featuring the past, present and future of farming on the Sunshine Coast.
To view the draft AAP, members of the public are encouraged to visit www.scrd.ca/Ag-Plan, where additional background reports and information are also available.
SCRD Planner, Gregory Gebka, noted, “the region’s Ag Plan is on track and nearing completion of its final stages. We encourage all residents, producers and those with interest in local food production to come and learn about the key recommendations and implementation opportunities.”
Work on the AAP commenced in spring, 2012. The AAP is funded jointly by the SCRD and by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC through programs it delivers on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture. The District of Sechelt, Town of Gibsons, Sechelt Indian Government District and Islands Trust (Gambier Local Island Trust Committee) have provided in-kind support and resources for the project.
“Not only will the plan be an important guide to addressing the needs of our local agricultural community, but it will promote actions that will help to strengthen our economy and build resilience within our region,” said SCRD board chair Garry Nohr.