To the editor,
I am concerned that a proposed heli-ski operation on the 300 acre former Kozier farm property in Old Remo is not aligned with our stated local food security goals of the City of Terrace and the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District. On paper we value local food security, yet in practice we frequently undermine the very land that needs protection. The current owner of the former Kozier property, a wealthy American from California, wants to rent out his new luxury home to another party so they can operate a heli-skiing business on this farm property. Since a party other than the owner wants to run a tourism operation on this farm property it requires a formal zoning change. The applicant has applied to both the Kitimat-Stikine Regional District Board (KSRD) as well as the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to make this zoning change.
This request is in effect an attempt to redefine the use of this land from farm land to land that can accommodate heli tourism, a move that makes the land much more valuable to the owners and supersedes its value as farmland that grows food for the northwest.
Yes, it will still be farmland in this agriculture area; however that will be a moot point, as it will be much more profitable to use this land as a high end heli-ski resort for the super rich. While the request is now limited to heli-skiing a zoning change would in effect allow heli-tourism year round.
A proposal of this nature also threatens existing farms in Old Remo as it redefines the agricultural ambience of the Old Remo community and allows for helicopters to come and go harassing livestock on an ongoing basis. If this land zoning change goes through then this land will become the playground for the rich and in effect it is no longer land growing local food and helping us secure local and regional food security.
The Terrace area historically was the bread basket for the northwest. If we really value local food production then we need to protect critical pieces of agricultural land. In our area, this 300-acre parcel is undoubtedly the most significant large chunk of fertile, agricultural land. If we do not challenge this project then we are not serious about protecting local food security.
I believe it is vital that we protect local food security and resist this rezoning application. I encourage you to take a stand for local and regional food security. Now is the time to make your voice heard and show up at the hearing on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at 6 p.m. at the first floor boardroom at 4545 Lazelle, Ave. Terrace. If you can not show up in person write a letter to the regional district board. Let us show we care!.
Charles Claus, market gardener and orchardist,
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