Getting the Lay of Land Use

Before embarking on something new, you must first determine where you are. Marketers use surveys; community planners use land use inventories. When local governments need to make land use decisions, they go to their Official Community Plan (OCP) for guidance. Agriculture Land Use Inventories provide the background material for OCPs. They help planners understand the type and extent of agricultural activities; determine capacity for expansion; quantify any Agricultural Land Reserve land unavailable for agriculture; and estimate agricultural water demand.

In the Cariboo region of B.C., planners need to update two of the region’s five OCP’s to not only better reflect the changing needs of the community, but also to better protect the area’s San Jose Watershed. In the summer of 2014, the development of the ALUI and use of the Agriculture Water Demand Model were funded through IAF. BC Ministry of Agriculture agrologists, in collaboration with a Cariboo Regional District GIS technician, used a “windshield” survey method to prepare ALUI’s in the South Cariboo and Lac La Hache regional districts. From the road, they observed agricultural activity, land use and land cover. Where visibility was limited, they used aerial photography in combination with local knowledge.

“We will be making the Agriculture Land Use Inventory available to the community during the OCP consultation process,” states Alice Johnston, Corporate Officer with the Cariboo Regional District. “People need to be aware of not only the current role agriculture has in their communities, but also the potential.”

FUNDING: $6,682.24 through the former federal-provincial Safety Nets framework. (B0016.40)

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