When the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) started the process of developing an agricultural area plan, one of the major challenges was getting an accurate picture of what was being farmed and where.
Situated in the southeast corner of BC, the regional district is dominated by the Rocky Mountain Trench and three mountain ranges. Before starting the planning process, the RDEK received funding to complete an Agricultural Land Use Inventory (ALUI) with the BC Ministry of Agriculture.
“The ALUI provides a tangible resource to work with,” says Karen MacLeod, planner with RDEK. “It gives us statistical information that is relevant and current, and maps the distribution of different types of commodities and animals being farmed across the region.”
Having a more complete picture of agriculture across the RDEK has helped inform the process as the regional district works with community and stakeholder groups to develop their agricultural area plan.
Community response to the process has been very good. It has helped the regional government overcome the challenge of developing one plan for a region where communities are spread out and agricultural activities are highly localized.
“If nothing else, the agricultural area plan process is bringing some awareness to the broader agricultural community,” says MacLeod. “It is a sector that has been quite divided for a number of years, and we hope that this plan can reflect some common vision and goals for this group.”
The RDEK Agricultural Area Plan is expected to be completed by Fall 2014.
Funding: $42,969 through the former federal-provincial Safety Nets framework. (A0655, B0016.33)