Update: The City of Revelstoke’s list of public comments has been updated. Seven more letters have been received, five in support and two against. Read them here. The letter in support from Community Connection’s food security coordinator Melissa Hemphill was withdrawn as the organization is neutral.
Should the City of Revelstoke allow a new farm within city limits?
A couple in Revelstoke have applied to the city to build a small hobby farm in Columbia Park to add to the local food diversity.
John and Alison Lapshinoff own a 1.7-hectare (over 4 acres) property at 378 Highway 23 North, which borders the Mount Revelstoke national park to the north and east. To the south is a vacant 12 acre parcel. Their nearest neighbours are located across the the highway and slightly below.
Along with fruit and vegetables, the Lapinshoff’s would like to raise small livestock (in total 12 pigs, sheep and goats), 50 fowl (laying hens, meat birds, ducks) and honey bees. They plan to utilize electric fencing to mitigate any issues with local wildlife — notably bears.
Their property is currently zoned R2, which is a single and two-family residential district. They have applied to change the zoning to rural residential, a change that will need to be passed by city council, and it will also require an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment.
A city report about the application notes that the application meets the OCP’s goal of encouraging compatible uses along the city boundaries and increasing land use resilience by allowing and encouraging local food production. The proposed changes would also fall in line with the Revelstoke Food Security Strategy.
Parks Canada have no major concerns and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District stated the proposed zoning could provide a suitable buffer to the national park.
Owner Alison Lapinshoff told the Mountaineer that the couple hope that the city council and community will recognize the merits of having a small mixed use farm within the city.
“With the trend these days towards taking agricultural lands and using them for development purposes, we think this is a refreshing change in the opposite direction; a change we think many of the citizens of Revelstoke would like to see,” she said. “In this era of packaged convenience food and imports, we as a society are losing the connection with the source of our food and we are excited at the possibility of bringing that back to Revelstoke in a small way.”
The Lapinshoffs said they are passionate about ethical, environmentally friendly and sustainable farming as well as eating well.
“While we would like to start a small hobby farm giving Revelstoke another source of local food, our main priority for the time being is to produce food for ourselves and perhaps a few friends,” Alison said.
“As our land is big enough to keep them well away from the nearby subdivision, I doubt anyone would even notice a few farm animals.”
The application has received letters of support from Melissa Hemphill, Community Connections’ food security coordinator and Nadja Luckau, president of the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative and two emails of support from local residents.
But there is significant opposition to the new farm.
Some residents of Columbia Park have started a petition opposing the change. 12 signatures from neighbours in the nearby Dallas Road cul-de-sac were received in a letter opposing the application.
“We purchased our properties as part of a residential community, not a rural or farm community,” the petition states.
“With reference to RRl Section… we believe that the number of animals and chickens/fowl will produce an annoyance or nuisance in the surrounding area by reason of emissions of odours, liquid effluent and noise.”
The petition also states concern for machinery noises and impacts the farm will have on the local neighbourhood as it inevitably grows.
Read the letters here.
City council will discuss the application at the meeting on Tuesday Dec. 20. following its public hearing.