Monday, May 9, 2016

Metro Vancouver proposes study of urban agriculture in Langley City

Metro Vancouver created a Sustainable Innovation Fund back in 2004. The $17.8 million fund has an annual contribution of $347,000. This contribution is part of the Metro Vancouver budget which is funding by a portion of property tax that landowners in the region contribute to.

Annually, Metro Vancouver internally vets projects and presents them to the Metro board for approval. The projects must support Metro Vancouver’s mandate, and “result in a positive contribution, in the form of tangible results and/or measurable benefits to the sustainability of the region.” The categories include: air quality management, regional parks, regional planning, housing policy, ecological health, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaption.

This year three projects will be submitted to the Metro Vancouver board for approval for funding in 2017. $100,000 for a Transit-Orient Affordable Housing Funding will assesses if it makes sense to start a fund to support building affordable rental housing near frequency transit. Another $100,000 has been allocated for a Regional Park Solar-Powered Conversion Project. This project will evaluate whether solar power can replace gas powered generators used in regional parks.

The third project is for a City of Langley Urban Agricultural Demonstration Project. Metro Vancouver will be allocation $50,000 to the project. The City of Langley and Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Institute for Sustainable Horticulture will be partners in this project.

BC Hydro power line right-of-way through the City of Langley. Select image to enlarge.

A ten hectare power line right-of-way travels through the southern part of the City of Langley. Some of the land in the right-of-way contains parks, but other sections do not. The $50,000 contribution will be used to develop a business case for using these sections of the right-of-way for urban agriculture. The business case will include creating detailed site and conception plans, plus an implementation and operation plan.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no funding allocated for actually constructing an urban farm at this time. My hope would be that meaningful public consultation is part of the development of the Urban Agricultural Demonstration Project Business Case.

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