Tuesday, August 6, 2013

ALR needs review & overhaul

This past Saturday - Vancouver Sun political columnist Vaughn Palmer looked at the upcoming Core Review led by BC Energy Minister Bill Bennett (BC Lib - East Kootenay).  Read Mr. Palmer's column here

Meanwhile - one comment from Minister Bennett I want to review as I agree 110% with him.  That comment was:

“People who are sitting on a piece of land that is covered by rocks and trees, land that never should have been inside the Agricultural Land Reserve boundaries in the first place, are constantly being turned down when they want to use their own private land"

This is something that has frustrated me to no end as a resident of Rural BC, given I have a number of applications that I've reviewed within Area 'D' of the Cariboo Regional District and should have passed the Agriculture Land Commission (ALC) and subsequently were refused.

In fact - I'd like to see consistent decision-making by the ALC for ALL agriculture land in BC & not one rule for Metro Vancouver (prime agriculture land is ALWAYS up for commercial development) and one rule for Rural BC (no land within the ALR will be allowed for removal)

I would strongly argue that a complete re-inventory of ALL agriculture land in British Columbia is sorely lacking and desperately needed.  For example, potential agriculture land in the Chilcotin that should be protected is not within the current ALR landbase, given the ALC is now roughly 30 years old and desperately needs a moderation into the 21st century.  Failure to do so will see the ALR becoming absolutely meaningless given the intent of the ALR in the first place was to protect agriculture land in BC to allow BC to develop local food sources.  Without these food sources - British Columbians will be at the helpless whim of foreign producers who can charge whatever price they want for their product(s) and we would have to pay it (similiar to the gasoline market)

Finally - Richard Stace-Smith (Professor emeritus, UBC Vancouver) wrote to the Sun today saying that the ALC needs no review or changes.  Read that here

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