Mennonite Agricultural Heritage Museum proposal approved

A portion of the site in Abbotsford will be used for farming.

The construction of a museum commemorating Abbotsford’s Mennonite agricultural history was given approval by council on Monday.

The Menno Place Museum Society is proposing to develop a Mennonite Agricultural Heritage Museum as an agri-tourism destination and farm retail sales facility on Clearbrook Road near Highway 1.  A portion of the land will also be used for farming a variety of crops both for educational purposes and for sale.

The properties, located in the Agricultural Land Reserve, are not currently being used for agricultural production and the project would bring a portion of the land back into farm use.

But because a certain amount of the space must be used for farming due to Agricultural Land Commission regulations and to comply with the city’s zoning bylaw, Coun. Henry Braun raised concerns that the farm use was insufficient to meet the regulations. Though he said he fully supported the intent of the project, he had concerns about whether the accessory farm use, including the museum and other buildings, was too much to meet the standards.

Coun. Moe Gill said the educational component is a benefit to agriculture as it will teach the importance of farming.

The museum building would provide administrative offices as well as four multi-media theatres, with 20 to 30 seats each, for presentation of historic and current agricultural practices.

The proposal states that the site would allow for educational experience for local schools and university students.