RDBN Growing Opportunities Agricultural Update - July 2021

October/November 2022 - Issue 14


The warm weather in October really stretched out the growing season. The cooler weather we are now experiencing seems like a pretty quick transition into getting ready for winter! October was a big month for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako this year, as we say farewell to some of our Directors, and a warm welcome to the newly elected/acclaimed ones following the October 15 General Local Election.

As we move forward into late fall and early winter, we are hoping to be able to share updated information on the different Climate Change Adaptation Program projects we are participating in, including pollinators, forage species, pest management, and wildfire fuel reduction. We will also be continuing to work on the next podcast series.


Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako

Rural/Agriculture Committee

The Inaugural Board Meeting to swear in the new elected Board of Directors for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako will be on November 17. We will introduce the new Electoral Area Directors in the next issue of this newsletter. For now, we want to share what the role of our Rural/Agriculture Committee is for you - the rural landowners within the RDBN!

What is the Rural/Agriculture Committee?

The Rural/Agriculture Committee is comprised of the Rural Electoral Area Directors. The Directors meet once a month to discuss matters specific to the rural residents, including agriculture, connectivity, rural committee community funds, land change requests, and more.

What is the purpose of the Rural/Agriculture Committee?

The Rural/Agriculture Committee's Vision is to:

  1. To consider matters relating to activities and RDBN services that affect electoral areas only; and
  2. To advance, promote and strengthen the growth and long-term viability of agriculture in the RDBN.

Who sites on the Rural/Agriculture Committee?

The Rural Electoral Area Directors sit on this committee, along with the Board Chair. 

How many Rural Electoral Area Directors are there?

There are seven (7) Rural Electoral Areas (A-G), and one Director per area. Areas A (Smithers) and F (Vanderhoof) Directors votes count as 2 due to the larger population size they represent.

If you have questions or concerns, can you connect with a Director?

YES! Each of the Rural Electoral Areas has a webpage, and there you can learn more about the specific area and read a bit about the Director, including their contact information. We'll introduce all the Directors in the next newsletter!


RDBN at UBCM 2022

Rural Committee Chair Mark Parker attended the 2022 Union of BC Municipalities Annual Convention in September. He participated in two joint meetings with Lara Becket from the Regional District of Fraser Fort Regional District regarding the critical veterinarian shortage.

Meetings were with Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang.

Chair Parker and Lara Beckett spoke to both Ministers about the dire need to increase the number of veterinarians in the province with a solution-based approach. They informed them of the initiatives a small working group has been working on, which include:

  • Approaching MNP to do an economic impact study on the vet shortage. 2/3 of the funding had been secured and Minister Popham agreed that her Ministry would fund the remaining amount.
  • Relaying information about the barriers that internationally trained vets face to practice in Canada and asked the Province to lobby for changes at the Federal level.
  • Shared that the committee has been having conversations with UNBC on exploring the possibilities of some form of vet training at the university.

Chair Parker and Lara Beckett asked that the Ministry of Advanced Education to fund the additional 20 seats for BC students to attend the Western College of Veterinarian Medicine in Saskatchewan on an annual basis. At this time there is only a commitment to fund those seats for the current year.

Both Regional District representatives were very pleased with the outcomes of the meetings and with receiving great support from the province to continue to find solutions for the vet shortage. Overall, Minister Popham was very happy with all the initiatives and requested a follow up meeting to discuss concerns and purposed solutions in greater depth, as did Minister Kang. The follow-up meeting with Minister Kang is scheduled for late November.

As of now the working group will continue exploring options with UNBC. The economic impact study will commence in November with an expected completion date of late February.

Pollinator Assessment

Objective: to collect baseline data on the pollinator species present in the Bulkley-Nechako and Fraser-Fort George Regional Districts.

Two years of data have been collected. UNBC is the project administrator and an active partner. Farm partners from Smithers to the Robson Valley have been working with the main contractor, Aija White. There are two resources currently available: a final report that summarizes the analyses of Year One results and a factsheet that describes the pollinator species observed.

Funding Opportunity

Extreme Weather Preparedness for Agriculture - the application intake deadline for fall has been extended to November 15th, 2022 (it will stay open until funding has been allocated).


GO SEASON TWO starts Nov. 10th

Top 10 "Must Knows" for Living on Rural Property in the RDBN

We've had a slight delay, so the first episode is set to release November 3rd and will cover some really common questions...

- What does ALR mean, what is the ALC and why do rural landowners need to know?

- What is Farm Status, why does it matter, and who can get it?

Go to the Growing Opportunities page to listen to all of Season One and the upcoming Season Two GO Podcast episodes. Or listen wherever you get your podcasts - just search for Growing Opportunities!


Please let us know what you'd like to see in the next Growing Opportunities eNewsletter!

Megan D'Arcy
(West - Areas A, B, E, G; Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Granisle, Burns Lake, South Side)

Michelle Roberge
(East - Areas C, D, F; Vanderhoof, Fort St. James, Fort Fraser, Fraser Lake, Endako)