If the wind’s just right, it’s hard to escape the fact that Chilliwack’s roots are in agriculture.
Despite the growth and success of other industries, agriculture remains a critical component to our overall economic health.
So it is important that Chilliwack not only protect this sector from increased urbanization, but seek ways to foster its growth and diversification.
The new Chilliwack Agricultural Area Plan hopes to do that.
The plan, which comes before a public hearing at city hall on June 5, looks to add some guidance to agriculture planning in Chilliwack.
That agriculture remains an important part of our economic well being is something often lost on people new to the city, or whose experience is limited to what wafts on the air.
In fact, agriculture remains an important employer, and contributes around $600 million in economic activity to the region.
And unlike other industries, Chilliwack’s dairy and poultry sectors remain relatively stable, even during uncertain economic times.
But Chilliwack’s agricultural sector has more than fertile ground and good weather going for it.
It also has a growing education sector that is committed to agriculture learning. The University of the Fraser Valley already has healthy agriculture programs. But over time, it hopes to expand that offering, bringing research and expertise to a field that is becoming increasingly complex.
All of this can help Chilliwack reach the goal articulated by the steering committee that drafted the agriculture area plan: To make Chilliwack “a centre of excellence in agriculture, focusing on industry innovation and sustainability and emphasizing education, communication, conservation, and environmental responsibility.”