Planting seeds for urban agriculture

Cranbrook City Council hatches plan for new strategies

Cranbrook has begun the first steps to creating a strategy around urban agriculture. At a Monday city council meeting, mayor Wayne Stetski put forward a notice of motion on an Urban Agriculture Strategy.

Stetski noted that Cranbrook currently doesn’t have a specific strategy or policy with respect to urban agriculture. The city has received a number of requests and expressions of interest in conducting various forms of agricultural activities within city limits.

The Urban Agriculture Strategy would do a number of things. It would promote guidelines, actions and policies with respect to urban agriculture; promote sustainability and food security; support economy initiatives for the agricultural sector; and provide support when seeing funding opportunities for agricultural related projects.

Coun. Sharon Cross attended a consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, that included farmers and ranchers from the area.

“In 2004, when the province made farm gate sales illegal, it led to quite a loss in the East Kootenay of our producers,” Cross said. She then read out some statistics.

In 2001, there were 151 cattle ranching and farming operations and in 2011 there were 78. There were 25 hog and pig farms in 2001, and in 2011, there was one. In 2001, there were nine poultry and egg producers and in 2011 there was one. There were 56 sheep and goat farms in 2001, and in 2011 that went down to five.

“So I do support the resolution, I’m a little concerned about the inclusion of chickens at this point,” Cross said. “I think we have a ways to go and I’ve had a number of ranchers and farmers say that since that legislation was removed they are really having a hard time making ends meet. I think we have an obligation to our neighbours to encourage their economic sustainability, so I’m a little concerned about the chicken part of the agricultural component at this time. There would only be one exception that I’d consider.”

Stetski said there would be ample opportunity to hear both sides of the chicken discussion as the strategy moves forward.

“That is just one part of the Urban Agriculture Strategy,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll have that discussion and I’m assuming the strategy will include public input.”

Later in the council agenda, there was three letters of correspondence pertaining to the subjects — one on the Urban Agriculture Strategy and two on urban chickens.

Jessica Windle, Wildsight Food Sustainability Program manager, wrote a letter commending council for bringing forward the topic.

“A sustainable food system in our region offers countless benefits to residents, commerce and the ecosystem around us,” Windle wrote.

On the topic of chickens, resident Jim Kennedy said council should gauge the feelings of the population before changing bylaws to allow the raising of chickens.

“The concept of urban agriculture in our community is laudable and should be encouraged by all means, but restricted to gardening,” Kennedy wrote.

Resident Angela Sanders had the opposite opinion and gave a number of reasons that backyard chickens would be beneficial.

She noted that the issues with odour from chickens comes largely from people familiar with large scale chicken keeping.

“A well-managed and small flock of 4-5 chickens will not produce a volume of manure that cannot be readily managed by a responsible owner,” Sanders wrote.

On the topic of noise, she wrote that it is the roosters that make noise, so as long as roosters are not permitted, then sound is minimal. Hens sleep during the night and only make clucking noises in the daytime.

She said bylaws and registration could keep poor conditions to a minimum.

On the topic of managing chickens past egg-laying age, she suggested that a service be set up with the butchers, abattoirs or farms for people who don’t want to keep their chickens.

The last thing she mentioned was the there will not be a likely issue with predators.

“I’m not sure that chickens will encourage predators any more than cats/dogs and their food, fruit trees, garbage or any other attractant,” she said.

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read