Updated Friday, Oct. 28
The District of Sicamous will be obtaining input before seeking permission to establish a municipal campground on agricultural land.
Having identified a 40-acre parcel of agricultural land in the Old Town Bay area for potential campground use, one of the hurdles faced by the district involves submitting a non-farm-use land application to the Agricultural Land Commission.
In September, council learned at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention that its ALC application would benefit from showing the campground property also being put to agricultural use.
After his own conversations with the property’s owner, the province and the ALC, district administrator Evan Parliament recommended to council that, in order to “minimize the initial outlay of resources required to submit a proper application,” the district seek professional input from an agrologist, an economist and a planner be contracted.
“I know it’s a bit of a long process to get to the application stage, but I believe what UBCM and administrative staff told us is critical, so we minimize our cost instead of spending $100,000 to $200,000 on reports on something that may not lead us to approval…,” said Parliament at last Wednesday’s council meeting.
An economist would present a business case for the campground, while a planner would assist in a site plan that would include potential agricultural use. An agrologist would determine soil quality on the property to help assure best quality soils are reserved for agricultural use, while a campground is located on less desirable earth.
“We need to show exactly where you’re going to put infrastructure, where food production can occur,” said Parliament. “And only an agrologist study can provide that.”
Parliament said the district has $80,000 budgeted in 2016 for consulting services. He anticipates the cost for the three professional opinions to be between $10,000 and $12,000.
“We probably won’t expend it all by the end of this year, but we do have some money set aside for this purpose.”