It was with considerable dismay that we read the editor’s interpretation of the Circle Farm Tour partners’ visit to the council meeting on Oct 11th. Contrary to what was reported, the CFT group is NOT looking for financial support from the District of Kent.
The local CFT program is 100 per cent supported by the member farmers and local advertisers. This revenue covers ALL printing, distribution, local advertising costs, special event support, and wages for a coordinator. NONE of this money comes from the District.
In 2003 the District of Kent initiated the CFT as an economic development program. Its unique attraction and brilliant success led four other regions, namely Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows to join. In addition to the farm partners’ payment, each participating municipality/city has an obligation to pay $4000 per annum to a regional group to create a strong combined presence in the agri-tourism industry in the Fraser Valley.
Thousands of visitors per year are attracted to the Fraser Valley, where they visit farms, local shops, restaurants, hotels and tourism sites in the region. The purpose of the CFT presentation to the council was to report on the work of the regional group and clarify the financial commitments shared by the CFT partners and their respective municipal districts.
The local CFT group learned in Dec 2010 that the District of Kent’s financial commitment had not been fully paid for that year and at this time is still outstanding for 2011. If the regional program is not supported by the District of Kent, the Agassiz-Harrison Mills group may be forced to withdraw its membership.
D. Amrein-Boyes for the Agassiz Harrison-Mills Circle Farm tour group