The regional district committee of the whole has approved in principle a Comox Valley Exhibition plan to build and operate an agricultural awareness centre at the fairgrounds. Approval is subject to construction and operating agreements, including a business plan.
If it comes into fruition, the 2,500 square-foot facility would be located where the RCMP bicycle shed stands. It would be a multi-purpose facility conducive to meetings and concerts, with an indoor/outdoor stage, kitchen, office, washrooms, storage and a space that could seat up to 234 people.
The centre might resemble a large, red barn.
“That was one of our concepts,” CVEx board president Andy Quinn said.
Another idea is to showcase on a main wall a map similar to the Grower’s Guide with farm locations around the Comox Valley.
The CVEx would be the main user, though other groups such as 4H and MusicFest have expressed interest in using the facility.
Community Futures has said the idea follows with its long-term strategy regarding economic development.
“There hasn’t been a big highlight on the agriculture sector in the community, so this would obviously help them a lot,” Quinn said.
The idea for a centre first took shape when the CVEx, in need of more storage space, sought the opinion of its user groups.
“It just kind of morphed from there into something a lot more than a $50,000 shed,” Quinn said.
At this stage, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact cost or construction timeline.
The CVEx plans to make it happen mostly by grants and public aid. Fundraisers are another option.
“There’s grants available for this sort of a project, how it ties in with us helping Therapeutic Riding, MusicFest and 4H, even the soccer club. It’s nice and central there,” Quinn said.
“It’s exciting times for agriculture in the Valley,” he added, noting the upcoming Islands Agriculture Show that Duncan had hosted the past three years.