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Answer Man — Agriculture research centre

Agricultural Research Station main building.

Agricultural Research Centre main building.

Dear Answer Man,

We were Daily News subscribers from when we arrived in Kamloops in 2003 till the paper shut down this year. I really miss the paper, however, I’m thankful for your on-line news and I hope it continues to flourish and grow.

Question markI wonder what is the status of the former Agriculture Canada research facilities on Ord Road. Does the federal government still own it? Is there an opportunity here for the City of Kamloops to get a good deal on a beautiful property that could be put to some good use for the community?

It’s a lovely setting for a park with many mature trees on the property. The main office and administration building looks like an excellent structure in a very nice natural setting. Shops and other outbuildings appear to be in great shape.

Right now, it’s all locked down and under tight security. Perhaps it’s something that TRU would be interested in acquiring? I hope it doesn’t go to ruin as was the case with Tranquille.

FRANK RHEBERGEN

Kamloops

Dear Frank,

The federal government still owns the property, but continues its process to find someone interested in taking it over.

In May of 2013, the feds announced the closure of the agricultural research centre, which had operated for almost eight decades. The shutdown meant 14 people lost their jobs, although some may have transferred to other departments within government.

The station opened in 1935, but it had facilities at Pass Lake that went back to 1886, when there was a federal fire-lookout station built that was integrated into the research branch.

Cattle and their food were the focal point for the centre until 2011, when, in ana ttempt to keep it open, it diversified into study of grasslands and range.

Hay fields at ag station are no longer in production.

Hay fields at ag centre are no longer in production.

The Kamloops Agricultural Research Centre wasn’t the only one to take a hit — federal agricultural operations closed in Agassiz and Regina around the same time. Ag Canada’s decision to close some of the centres was due to mounting costs to maintain and operate a network of research farms that grew from an original five to 57.

Last summer, Agriculture Canada’s director of property and building operations Michel Falardeau told the City’s agricultural advisory committee the federal government has a process to follow to dispose of its shut-down facilities and that First Nations would get first crack at the land and buildings. If it doesn’t become part of a First Nations land claim, it will be sold. However, the Kamloops centre is within the Agricultural Land Reserve, which does restrict its use.

Falardeau expected the shutdown to take at least a year, which meant it would be officially closed this coming September. Each property and building had to be evaluated.

The disposal process goes through Public Works and Government Services Canada. They give other government departments and Crown corporations first crack at expressing an interest.

So far, the government circulation has been done and there’s been no formal interest shown, according to James Watson, media relations officer with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Due diligence efforts are still ongoing, such as an environmental assessment, while First Nations are also being consulted at this time to see if they have any interest.

ANSWER MAN

Got a question for the Answer Man? Email it to armchairmayor@gmail.com and the Answer Man will get on the case.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5081 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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