Food security and local production were topics at the April 12 public hearing to discuss new zoning bylaws and new OCP bylaws in Prince Rupert. A shipping container-style hydroponic growing unit in Whitehorse on July 26, 2020 is similar to one purchased by the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society for local food production. (Photo: Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Food security and local production were topics at the April 12 public hearing to discuss new zoning bylaws and new OCP bylaws in Prince Rupert. A shipping container-style hydroponic growing unit in Whitehorse on July 26, 2020 is similar to one purchased by the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society for local food production. (Photo: Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Food security and local production were growing concerns at city held public hearing

No provision in new zoning bylaws and new OCP for urban agriculture zones in Prince Rupert

Food security and local production was a growing topic at the City of Prince Rupert public hearing on April 12 to discuss new city zoning bylaws and renewing the Official Community Plan Bylaw.

More than 27 participants connected through the community discussion held on ‘Zoom’ while members of the city council heard public feedback, concerns, and even some praise from meeting contributors.

Introducing the new OCP Bylaw, Rob Buchan of iPlan, the city planning consultants, said many new initiatives and policies are included in the documents that will support development in the city and surrounding residential neighbourhoods.

“The OCP is influenced by Prince Rupert’s 2030 vision and bases the predicted growth in population off of the Port of Prince Rupert’s development projections.”

“The OCP identifies or introduces background and framework for local food systems. This considers local ocean resources and identifies local foods that may be growing. It also speaks to facilitating local projects and programmes to expand the local food system and enables the development of a food strategy,” Buchan said.

Ken Shaw a registered professional agrologist who has been involved with food production in different roles for over 40 years said, while the new OCP bylaw is very visionary and sets the stage for many changes that are occurring in our society it does not reflect the vision of the 2030 plan.

“There’s no provision in the zoning categories for any kind of urban agriculture, whether it be small-scale market gardening, or even highly intensive production systems,” he said. “And there’s no recognition under the home business category for any kind of home [agriculture] business, which discriminates against economic development.”

COVID-19 has accelerated changes in our community such as food security and the over-dependence on a centralized long-distance system with heightened supply-chain fragility, he said.

There are multiple reasons for an urban agriculture strategy such as economic value, community resilience and food insecurity, Shaw said.

“You’re really only nine meals away from anarchy — the road gets shut down, we have a major earthquake, supply chains break for whatever reason and we’re in trouble. It can happen really quick,” the agricultural professional said.

Shaw said he knows many people in the region are not familiar with urban agriculture and the economic or social benefits.

“According to Statistics Canada we spend $387 bucks a month on food per person. That’s a $64 million business in Prince Rupert. Being a primary industry that has economic spin-offs in the range of $445 million per year. It’s a significant part of the economy. With certainty, all those dollars are flowing out of the community, and we’re not getting any of the spin-off benefits.”

Shaw said he has three suggestions to council regarding the gaps he sees in the new bylaws. The first one being the establishment of an urban agricultural zone permitting the growing of food, fruit and nut tree production, small livestock such as bees, chicken, vermiculture and other small meat animals; mushroom cultivation, agricultural retail sales, and aquaculture. The second suggestion being to allow home-based and small businesses to include agriculture as a permitted action. Thirdly, amending the allowable property fencing to deter deer which are the number one predator to growing food in this climate, he said.

Prince Rupert resident Christianne Chouinard said she originally moved to Crippen Cove where she could have a large garden and chickens, but needed to move into the city where she has lived for 30 years.

“In order to access fresh, healthy local food, I had to make connections with farmers in Terrace and Smithers because we have no local food production here.”

“I understand that the new community plan for Prince Rupert has a vision for food systems, but I’m disappointed to see that it’s not reflected in the new bylaws,” Chouniard said.

“Urban agriculture can be very productive, and many communities in Canada have made changes to support this,” she said. “To rely on food trucked away from 1000s of kilometres away is not a good idea. I’m asking city council that new bylaws facilitate urban agriculture.”

READ MORE: Hydroponic greenhouse to be rooted in Prince Rupert

READ MORE: Urban agriculture area planned for Prince Rupert downtown core


K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Happy Mother’s Day on May 9th.
Millar Time

A mother’s moments

Jon Bonneschranz retired from the Prince Rupert Fire Rescue Department at the end of April after 22 years of service to the city. He was also one of three firefighters honoured with the department’s first life-saving award. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of our City – Jon Bonneschranz, fighting fish to fighting fires

Retiring Captain Jon Bonneschranz hangs up his helmet after 22 years

Sheila McDonald coordinator at the Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre Association said on May 6th, the new fridge purchased with $5,000 from the BC Maritime Employers Association will help sustain the Better at Home Food Assistance program. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Seniors’ Centre Association chills out with $5,000 donation

BC Maritime Employers Association uses Seniors’ Centre for training purposes

A Prince Rupert man fled after being placed under arrest on April 28. The incident caused an elementary school and local residents to be warned to stay inside. (File photo)
Wanted Prince Rupert man flees after arrest – later apprehended

Local school and residents told to stay inside during pursuit of man wanted from 2019 gun incident

As the BC CDC reports on May 5 declining pandemic numbers and only one case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert, the vehicles parked outside the local testing center also decrease. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert COVID-19 numbers down again

Second outbreak at Acropolis declared over

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read