Over here are the horses, over here the vegetables, over here the greenhouse and over here the RVs. That's the new face of farming after the Regional District of Nanaimo approved a zoning Tuesday to facilitate agri-tourism.
A proposal from Horne Lake farmers Paul Christensen and Kris Masson inspired the RDN to create AG-1.
"It's been low-key," Christensen said, "but we look at it as a really big thing."
Christensen and Masson, who also operate the Pineridge Market on their 70-acre farm, wanted to build RV sites and eventually cabins to accommodate what Masson calls "the farm experience."
The new zone allows a maximum of 10 "agri-tourism accommodation sleeping units," essentially 10 RV sites and/or cabins.
They have to occupy less than 5% of the farm and stays are limited to 90 days in a 12-month period.
Christensen and Masson are hoping to have 10 serviced RV sites ready for 2014.
At a public hearing, their pro-osal was supported by their neighbours, who commended the RDN for supporting agri-tourism and farming.
Christensen said he and Masson "see this as a really great opportunity for farms for diversifying their farm income.
"This is going to make it so we can grow the farm side of the business," he said, such as providing money to build more greenhouses. "It's about encouraging farming."
Christensen said RDN staff "were really good" and very enthusiastic about the proposal.
"It's a perfect fit" with the RDN's Agriculture Area Plan, Christensen said. "They were very progressive with it."
The process was helped along by their Area Director Bill Veen-hof and by Maureen Pilcher, a land-use consultant.
[Nancy Tait ] / Kris Masson and Paul Christensen in the Pineridge Market on their 70-acre farm in Horne Lake. Thanks to their proposal, the 246,000 acres of farmland in the RDN have been opened to agri-tourism, an additional source of income for farmers.;
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