Council should preserve property for farmland

North Cowichan – Re: opposition to the proposed development of Ford Road property as police facility It would be very short-sighted to use the Ford Road property for the police facility. It is an old farm, unused for many years and ready for re-development as an agricultural property.

David Ford gave this property to his step-daughter, my grandmother, Florence Yates, in the early 1920s, so my family has kept track of it ever since. It is fine farmland, which ought not to be developed for any other purpose. Surely, even now, there are councillors who know the importance of saving remaining farmland to feed the growing population and as insurance against crop failure elsewhere.

Too much good agricultural land in Somenos has been sacrificed to commercial development in recent years. The Cowichan Commons is located on what was once excellent farmland, including the farm of my other grandparents, Elizabeth and Alwyn Thompson, owned by them 1917 to 1944, and the farm of our friends Frederick and Nina Holmes (who owned an adjacent farm for an even longer time; that farm is also now under the Cowichan Commons).

The three farms were the location of mixed farming, which supported whole families. Had they produced cash crops, they could have provided fruit and vegetables for a significant proportion of the population of Cowichan.

It has been fashionable to regard commercial development as somehow more important than the preservation of farmland. WHY must the fine agricultural property at the corner of Ford and Drinkwater Roads be sacrificed? The council must be aware of the complications of developing this property for the proposed purpose, including the need to remake the road system in that area. Surely there is another more appropriate

location on the main highway, perhaps one already developed as a failed or faltering commercial property, which may now be available for other purposes. Has this angle been thoroughly explored? It is distressing that my arguments are likely to be disregarded and good farmland once again placed under blacktop and building, and permanently removed from its earlier, productive use.

I hope another location for the police facility may be found.

Gillian Thompson former North Cowichan resident

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