Since West Kelowna was incorporated as BC’s newest municipality in 2007, agriculture has been a hot topic within the community.

A key economic driver and a central component of the community’s identity, agriculture in the area is varied and includes tree fruit production, horticultural plant nurseries, pasture and viticulture, as well as a noteworthy wine production industry.

The preservation of the district’s agricultural heritage was specifically identified as a key priority in the 2010 Official Community Plan.

Despite the collective pride in its agricultural heritage, West Kelowna faces a number of challenges, including an aging farming population with limited succession planning, urban/rural conflicts, and commercial development pressures.

With funding from IAF, the district has been able to develop an Agricultural Area Plan to complement the Official Community Plan in managing these challenges.

The development of the plan included extensive consultation with agricultural stakeholders and community members to provide input and propose policy direction.

In addition to establishing an agricultural inventory within the new district boundaries, the plan outlines West Kelowna’s agricultural priorities and proposes a number of recommendations to protect agriculture, increase sustainability and broaden community awareness of farming practices.

The plan was officially adopted by the district in August 2011 and implementation is now underway, with the Agricultural Advisory Committee currently considering bylaw amendments and policy recommendations.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater is excited to see the plan unfolding, praising it as “a comprehensive and very complete plan to support and enhance agriculture in the community.”

Funding: $36,497 was provided through the former federal-provincial Safety Nets framework. (B0016.27)