A new initiative to promote agriculture right at the entrance to the Alberni Valley is in the works.
In September 2014, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District contracted an agricultural support worker team to assist with the implementation of the ACRD’s 2011 agricultural plan.
One of the focuses of the plan was promoting agriculture and farmable land in the Alberni Valley, due to “the lack of awareness,” a report by agricultural support worker Connie Kuramoto read.
According to Kuramoto, “most of the agricultural land lies off the beaten track,” which leads many people who visit and pass through the Alberni Valley to miss the “richness and diversity of agriculture in the Valley, as well as the availability of agricultural land.”
One of the areas identified as key to the promotion of agriculture in the Valley is the vacant agricultural land reserve behind Tyler’s No Frills grocery store on Johnston Road.
Combined with new signage along the Johnston Road corridor, Kuramoto believes that an agricultural centre and farmers’ market on the currently vacant property could highlight the diversity and availability of agricultural land an opportunity.
“Young agrarians” are one of the groups that city economic manager Pat Deakin is hoping to attract to the region and according to Kuramoto, Deakin showed interest in the project. The Johnston Road corridor has been identified as a priority for development and beautification by the city.
Michael Von Hausen, a urban planner and adjunct professor of urban planning studies at Simon Fraser University with over 30 years of experience in his field was identified by Kuramoto as a possible contractor for the land use planning and signage for the project.