The owners of 100 Mile Horsepower Ranch are seeking rezoning approval to turn a third of their property into a recreational facility.
Leanna Davies, who has operated the ranch since 2018 with her husband Dave, said she has applied to the Cariboo Regional District to rezone 68 of their 150 acres from resource and agricultural (RA1) to tourist commercial (C2). This would allow them to build a campsite, she said, and expand their mud races, which currently operate under a three-year temporary use permit.
The mud races drew 1,200 people last year and Davies said they would like to offer their racers – many of whom come from across B.C. and Alberta – another option for accommodation.
“We want to put some more work into the property and we had a really positive year in 2022 and we’d like to move forward with the rezoning so we can continue to develop the property,” Davies said. “It will allow us to do camping. There’s a lot of other stuff this rezoning will allow us to do, but we mainly just want a campground for the events.”
Davies has started a petition to help bolster their application, putting out a call on social media last week. As of Wednesday, the petition had 913 signatures.
She said they have already started building some roadways around the property as well as a few campsites. If the rezoning goes ahead, she said they will also construct a communal food court area for local food trucks. Davies said while they can develop their property without the rezoning, they prefer to secure the rezoning before moving ahead with bigger projects.
“It just opens the door to other options. The Four Wheel Drive Association of BC is a big supporter of what we’re doing because it encourages a responsible way to go wheeling, rather than going out into the backcountry and damaging protected areas,” Davies said. “They would like to use our property as a training spot where they have certified trainers come down and teach people how to responsibly wheel.”
Margo Wagner, CRD chair and director for Area H, said she’s pleased to see Davies take the initiative and apply for the rezoning. The CRD doesn’t typically give out more than two three-year permits and their current one is only good until 2026.
“We really try to encourage the applicant to make up their mind: to either rezone or give up whatever they’re doing,” Wagner said. “The two events they had this past year were really successful and I had zero complaints from any of the neighbours, I actually had compliments with how they handled it.”
Wagner noted she is surprised the ranch doesn’t fall under the agricultural land reserve, which often stymies such development plans. She said the rezoning process will take several months and will involve input from staff as well as a public hearing. If there are no serious objections, she said it will likely be adopted.
“They have great plans for that place and there’s a lot of potential up there other than the mud drags they do,” Wagner said. “They’re a young couple who have plans for the area I think will not only benefit Forest Grove, but the South Cariboo as well.”
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