Group wants to start a pilot program for regenerative farms in North Cowichan. (File photo)

Group wants to start a pilot program for regenerative farms in North Cowichan. (File photo)

Group looks to North Cowichan for farmland

Land could also be used for affordable housing

A suggestion that some municipal land in North Cowichan be used for collective farms was received warmly by council at its meeting on Nov. 18.

But any final decisions on the matter will have to wait.

Cody Wicks, a member of the Regenerative Land Stewards, told council that up to 100 acres of municipal lands, including those that are clear-cut or filled with invasive species, could be utilized to create a regenerative agriculture project that addressed multiple needs.

He said that as well as regenerating the degraded ecosystems, the project would also create sustainable agriculture for vegetables, teas, and animal husbandry, and also create affordable housing opportunities for land stewards who are running the businesses.

RELATED STORY: PILOT PROGRAM TRAINS NEXT GENERATION OF ISLAND FARMERS

Wicks said the pilot project would be intended as an example to secure funding from interested private and public investors, as well as the general public.

“We are asking for land that has been clear cut or otherwise degraded, including old homesteads, old schools, any sort of land and infrastructure in which there is currently no use,” he said.

“Ideally, there are no toxicology concerns, but these can also be addressed if needed. We would look for land to be financed to the organization of Collective Space, with conditions and covenants, to ensure it is managed in this way as a regenerative agriculture and housing project. It requires no funding other than the ability to access land long term and hold title, and could be financed if needed.”

Coun. Rob Douglas said the notion of attaining farmland for young farmers had come to council before.

RELATED STORY: GROUP WANTS TO SEE MORE FARMERS IN THE VALLEY

He said he likes the idea of finding ways for young farmers to have easier access to land, but he would like the municipality to have a formal process in place to deal with such requests first.

“For the sake of fairness, I think a formal process to apply would be best rather that dealing with them as one-offs,” he said.

Coun. Rosalie Sawrie said the municipality is currently reviewing its official community plans so the request is timely.

Mayor Al Siebring told Wicks that council doesn’t make decisions on matters immediately after a delegation.

“We need to look at the information and discuss the issues before any decisions are made,” he said.

municipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

Last year’s session with the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at the Chemainus Legion Hall. (File photo by Don Bodger)
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP want public input

In-person forums not being held this year

Surf scooter at Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Sylvie Newey photo)
Surf’s up!

Surf scoter scours the waters off Chemainus for food

North Cowichan council held its first meeting of 2021 on Jan. 20.
Firearms Discharge Bylaw amendments put on the backburner

Forestry review still needs to be completed before staff makes a recommendation to council

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cash and drugs allegedly found in a suspect’s possession following an arrest earlier this month in downtown Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
Accused drug dealer arrested in Nanaimo carrying $20K, fentanyl, crack and meth

Terrance Virus, 39, being held in custody, scheduled to appear in court Feb. 1

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Most Read