A new miniature rail attraction is one of the additions on offer at the Horsting Farmer’s Market just north of Cache Creek on Highway 97, and the public will soon be able to share their thoughts.
At its regular September 23 meeting, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Board of Directors voted to give first and second reading to a zoning change by-law that would allow Horsting to build and operate amusement rides. and outdoor attractions on site, including a miniature passenger train similar to the one at BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops.
A report to the TNRD board noted that the railroad is one of the many attractions the owners hope to add to the site over the next decade. Other attractions on offer include mini-golf, bumper boats, ziplines and roller coasters.
If approved, the site-specific amendment would allow “tourism commercial uses, in conjunction with agricultural uses, limited to bakery, restaurant / deli, amusement machines and rides, and minor retail “.
In March 2021, the TNRD Board of Directors supported a request for “non-agricultural use” with the Agricultural Lands Commission (ALC). In July, the ALC approved the non-agricultural use, which means the zoning by-law amendment application with the TNRD could proceed.
The report says owners are looking to expand the non-farm portion of the business to supplement their income and attract more visitors to the site. All of the proposed new uses are intended to be ancillary uses to the existing agricultural operation, which will remain the main uses of the property.
In a letter accompanying the March 2021 application, the owners said they wanted to “upgrade our existing business to include agritourism and themed tourist attractions as well as a new retail agricultural market combined with a train station and a new greenhouse / garden. Center. This would include a rail transport system that would move our guests to different points and attractions across the farm.
“The buildings would be inspired by the Cariboo Gold Rush era and a Western look, which would include existing and new buildings. There would be small themed specialty concessions throughout the farm to add value to the products we grow with a cider house / cellar (produced from the apples and fruit we grow on the farm).
The letter goes on to say that the attractions would be “family oriented and interactive” and help enhance the local history of the area with a focus on the Cariboo Gold Rush. “The property was part of the Gold Trail route and the existing house was built by Judge Calder in the late 1800s… The proposed project will create jobs and attract more visitors to our farm and businesses surrounding areas. “
Other attractions on offer for the site include a corn maze, gold panning lock, children’s pedal cars and a children’s play area. The railway line would cross the entire site (crossing the Bonaparte river in two places) and would have stations at different places along the route.
The TNRD planning services noted that the demand and subsequent uses of the land will bring benefits to the landowner, the local area and the region by contributing to a “vibrant rural neighborhood center where local residents and tourists can. meet “and allowing owners the opportunity to” continue to improve substandard farmland with expanded farm market operations “.
Official approval of the regulations is required from the Ministry of Transport. Things to consider include traffic congestion on Highway 97 and the lack of left turn and deceleration / acceleration lanes in a 90 km / h zone.
The next step will be a public hearing on the proposed rule changes. No date or place for this meeting has been set.
Cache CreekThompson Nicola Regional District