A sports complex has been proposed for Vernon - Coldstream area, which will require excluding 100 acres of farmland in the Coldstream valley from the Agricultural Land Reserve, which is exactly what it sounds like. I have written the following letters to the Editor of the Morning Star newspaper here.
“Another 100 acres of prime food-growing farmland gone!” is what your headline should read.
A glance at the proposal for a sports complex on Hwy 6 clearly indicates that this project is designed to accommodate gas-guzzling vehicles, not hungry people. It is located on a main highway. It has huge parking areas – which should be growing locally consumable crops rather than being paved over to park pickup trucks. Talk about short-sightedness! Talk about terrible prioritizing!
Nearly every morsel of food eaten in Greater Vernon is trucked in from elsewhere, sometimes thousands of kilometres from where it is grown. It is counter-intuitive, read “stupid”, to pave over prime farmland in your backyard, and then to pay high costs to truck in the food you eat from California.
There are two world famous valleys in Canada – the Annapolis in Nova Scotia, the Okanagan in BC, and what they are known for is their fruit, their vines, their agriculture. It has been so since my great grandfather Victor Willett came here in the 1920s and grew an orchard on the west side and became the first postmaster at Ewans Landing. Pave over the farmland on Hwy 6 and soon enough there will be only one valley like it in Canada, and that will be the legacy of the Councillors who voted to approve it.
Hwy 6 project: “Field of Nightmares”
In my nightmares I see them coming, headlights along Hwy 6 gleaming through clouds of carbon monoxide, streaming towards the floodlit fields on the corner of Aberdeen Road that used to grow corn.
In Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, Field of Dreams, the premise was, “if you build it they will come.” That seems to be the dream of developers proposing the destruction of 100 acres of corn on Aberdeen Road to build softball diamonds. The nightmare is that they WILL come – hundreds of gas-guzzling, greenhouse gas-producing cars and trucks roaring in on oversized tires to leave oil and rubber residue on prime Coldstream farmland, farmland that could grow food to feed the people of Vernon.
Instead that food will have to be trucked in from hundreds, even thousands of kilometres away, at greater cost than if grown locally, covered in preservatives to keep it edible until it can get here. You KNOW this to be true. Consider this vision before you vote to approve plowing under, and paving over, some of the best remaining farmland in BC.