June 29, 2012
Kamloops, B.C. - The results of a public survey conducted earlier this year aimed at Kamloops residents, food retailers and producers are now available in the form of a Public Input Report.
Recognizing the importance of gaining preliminary input from the people of Kamloops toward the development of a City of Kamloops Agriculture Area Plan, City staff, with the support of the Agriculture Advisory Committee, polled the public to solicit feedback on local agriculture issues, successes and food buying patterns.
The overall goal of the Agriculture Area Plan is to build strong, positive relationships between the City, local agricultural community and the Agricultural Land Commission in order to work toward sustainability and promotion of local agriculture.
"The local producer survey response rate was overwhelming," said Maren Luciani, staff lead for the development of the Agriculture Area Plan. "Not only do the responses point to several key issues and challenges faced by producers, but the survey responses more generally suggest that agriculture planning is overdue and an issue the people of Kamloops are passionate about."
82 local producers, 298 consumers and 31 retailers completed the targeted surveys bringing the total to 411 surveys. The Agriculture Advisory Committee, City staff and consultants will be able to use the information collected from the surveys to support policy and program development pertaining to agriculture, both at the local level and with senior levels of government. The report can be used to support local producers and retailers in determining needs and demands for future marketing initiatives and to provide direction on future research required to meet public demand.
According to Randy Lambright, Planning & Development Manager for the City, some of the more common themes extracted from the surveys which will be considered as potential policies for the Agriculture Area Plan include: the potential need for a centralized, year-round, diversified farmers market facility that includes local processing, cold storage and distribution capacity; local programming and business planning for new farmers; the need for a farm bylaw that supports local farming; more flexibility of use of land within the ALR; educational programming and marketing for local food; and the potential for a permanent City of Kamloops Agriculture Advisory Committee.
The Public Input Report is available online and in hard copy. A Public Consultation Plan is in the works to identify further opportunities for public input and feedback as the planning process moves forward. All future opportunities for public input will be posted on the City’s website and printed in the local papers.
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Maren Luciani, Planning Technician II
City of Kamloops