Regional district adopts agricultural plan

NANAIMO: The vision for agriculture’s and aquaculture’s future in the region is complete and ready for action to begin.

The vision for agriculture’s and aquaculture’s future in the region is complete and ready for action to begin.

It took almost two years to create the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Agricultural Area Plan, which creates a framework to help support agriculture and aquaculture, identifies potential issues, obstacles and regulations that might need changing.  The plan was adopted by the RDN board Tuesday.

Joanne McLeod, a member of the RDN Agricultural Advisory Committee and president of the Nanaimo-Cedar Farmers’ Institute, said the committee is encouraged by the adoption of the plan.

“Now we need to take it from paper into the field. These things are no good sitting on the shelves,” she said.

McLeod said she hopes action will begin with the creation of a select steering committee, which was recommended in the plan, comprised of members from agriculture, government and stakeholders.

Jamie Wallace, a spokesman for Friends of Urban Agriculture in Lantzville, said in an e-mail that the plan makes several references to urban agriculture, an important issue in Lantzville.

“The plan calls for the RDN to continue to adopt policies and regulations that support urban agriculture,” said Wallace. “Our experience in Lantzville has not been a happy one.”

The plan has eight main goals: protect and enhance the agricultural land base; strengthen the local agriculture and aquaculture economy; improve training, skills and labour opportunities; improve opportunities for on-farm water resources management; address environmental sustainability, wildlife and climate change challenges; promote awareness and the value of local agriculture and aquaculture; use regulations and policies to support the industries and consider agriculture in emergency planning initiatives.

For more information please go to www.growingourfuture.ca.