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Nicola Valley Agri Park

Merritt, BC

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BC Rural Dividend Grant Award

City Delivers Letter of Support

At 1:00pm on Friday the 23rd of March, the City of Merritt delivered on it's unanimous decision to re-issue the letter of support to the society for the Nicola Valley Agricultural Park. Even our president Malcolm Lynn had a smile on his face after reading the context. "This is exactly what we needed!" and plans on thanking the City Council during a presentation on the "POZ" Agri Plex Plan scheduled for an upcoming Council Meeting TBA. The petition is now officially closed, THANKS to everyone who signed and showed up to support the development! Now is a good time to get an active membership to shape the future of the benefits that are going to be offered locally. CliCK HeRe to view the letter! Comments welcome!

Update to Petition

At the regular city council meeting last Tuesday the 27th, there were 7 people with more information for council to consider, we presented information on the ALR, the Community Plan, our Petition with over 200 signatures gathered in under 2 weeks, and 6 people signed the petition at the council meeting, SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION HERE, pass the word around we encourage local businesses to contact the society or attend our events to have their voice added to the growing requests for agricultural projects that would be great for the park. We have changed the wording of the petition which will be back out on the streets this week. Join our society with voting or non-voting memberships!

Petition to City Council

Just finished the edit on the petition that we have started to assist people who wish to show their support for the park. Sign our online petition here! Don't forget you can also show up early to the next 2 council meetings, on the 13th and 27th of February, to put your name on the public roster to verbally indicate that the City of Merritt support this project.

Merritt City Council - Committee of the Whole, Jan 30th

So nothing ever really goes as planned, mostly weather related lately, but this time a flat tire keeps Mike from attending the meetings in Merritt. He extends his apology and hopes to be in Merritt again soon. As a technically orientated person, being thrown into doing the presentation was more about just going by the playbook with only minor prep over the phone with Mike prior to the meeting. Armed with the feedback from local businesses during the pre-meeting gathering at the Kekuli Café, the general presentation went well. The City Council needs to decide if this project is going be part of Merritt. The presentation offered the municipality an opportunity to support in-kind and help develop the facilities.

Several previous locations were discarded for one reason or another until it was suggested because of the agricultural nature of the project, it might use the current site proposal, just north of where the info center was, which is part of the Agricultural Land Reserve. This reserve is 5% of crown land in BC that is considered agriculturally important and comes with restrictions when not used for some sort of agriculture. This project would be considered a permitted use. The city admits that this parcel has been on their radar for at least 15 years but wouldn't offer any more info than that.

A non-profit agricultural society wants to develop an agricultural park on agricultural reserved lands with start-up funding provided by the provincial and federal governments. A multi-million dollar project, jobs for the community, proposing to profit-share with the community and the city operations in exchange for their support in-kind for engineering or developing the land. When agriculture is profitable, the ripple effect is felt throughout the support industries such as ranches, farms, logistics, packing plants, food-processors, feed dealers, machinery suppliers, technology vendors, mechanics, welders, veterinarians, accountants, lawyers and even highways maintenance. This is giving opportunities to future generations to get involved in agriculture.

Not surprisingly mention of the ALR becomes the focus of the discussion. But despite asking several times what is an A.L.R. by the impromptu presenter? No one offers up the simplest of explanations,  that it stands for "Agricultural Land Reserve". Seriously, to a IT guy ALR could have meant anything, however ask a farmer about ALR and there's going to be feedback, including support for this kind of project within the ALR.

The query got lost in the ensuing clash of wills between an old school horseman vs. a stubborn council, leaving the presenter thinking that no one in the room knew what it was either? The meeting ended with a councillor focused on reprimanding our Society President a second time for an earlier noise from the gallery that briefly interrupted another presentation. It was unintentional as our president is sometimes loudly outspoken, motivated on this project and felt the need to tell me that our project could help theirs. 

Finding out what ALR meant was no big deal, but made me feel somewhat disappointed that no one offered an explanation at the meeting or invited our president to the podium instead of that other shit. The response would have been simply, isn't this the perfect project for an ALR? and why would the city not then immediately support the project within it's limits on crown land? After 3 years of work on it by the society, what's the hold up?

Pretty sure we'll hear more about the ALR in the days and weeks to come. It just seems more logical that the response should have been, hey let us help you with that. ALR! no problem, "we are 100% behind agricultural use for agricultural land reserve in our area!" and maybe a little, "we would love to have our engineers look at the plans and share in the benefits and profits for our community."

We have drafted a letter to be sent to council which explains how this all fits with the ALR and hopefully council will make a decision soon before the society moves the project outside city limits which would mean less involvement by Merritt in general. So there's basically 2 council meetings coming up on the 13th and the 27th. Anyone and everyone that wants to support this project should show up before the meeting and put their name on the public roster to speak out in support of the park. Mark the dates and we'll get the word out, thank you.

Facebook Update

Reached 10 Facebook Followers today! Doubling every 28 days since we published, THANK YOU ;)

Information & Support Meeting

Join us on Tuesday, January 30th between 4:00 - 6:00PM for an information session at the Kekuli Café in Merritt. After the meeting we will be heading over to a City Council Meeting to give a presentation and would like ALL supporters to tag along as we are seeking a commitment from the city so that MLA Jackie Tegart can table the project in the legislature. Everyone is welcome, society memberships are available that will provide future benefits to members and credit for being an early subscriber. Meet Malcolm Lynn, the Society President, who has played a key role in developing the equine industry in North America.

Uses for the Park

The facilities will have a strong equine influence because of the college. Other uses may include, dog shows, farmers markets, auctions, outdoor recreation events, car shows, and wintertime rodeos, essentially providing year-round agricultural facilities in support of the local economy. The Nicola Valley has deep roots in BC interior agriculture and is so perfectly placed where highways meet, surrounded by vital agriculture businesses. Merritt is already a summer destination, it makes good sense to improve the local economy with year-round facilities.
 

 

New Site Online

Today started bringing the information in to the website.

Horse racing track, equine learning centre possible for Merritt

Merritt stands to get a little more country as the Sagebrush Agri Park Society wants to establish a horse racing track and an equine learning centre in the Nicola Valley ...

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