Concerns that prime agricultural land will be over run by sprawl have prompted the mayors and reeves of metro Edmonton to include a new policy piece to the regional growth plan.
“Agriculture is something that was not in the previous plan,” said Edmonton chief planner Peter Ohm. “And the fact that it’s there is pretty significant, and it’s a policy area that the region hasn’t talked about.”
Edmonton was first with a policy, and other counties are how coming up with theirs. A master agreement will guide the entire region.
“The direction in the regional plan will be an overall master agricultural plan. It’ll provide some direction on where prime or priority agricultural lands will be conserved for as long as possible,” Ohm said.
“Involved in that conversation about having agriculture for the first time is more than just about areas to grow, it’s about the economic potential that needs to be recognized and how it can contribute to the overall fortunes of the region.”
“As part of a broad based discussion about the value of anything we have to look at of those things. What’s the economic impact, what’s the social aspect of that, what’s the environmental aspect, and all of that was considered in our own strategy.”
“What we’re trying to do is up our game in understanding what the value of agricultural land is,” Ohm said.