In today's Vancouver Sun - veteran political columnist Vaughn Palmer looks at the issue of an Agriculture Land Reserve application in Fort St John for a major rodeo-themed development and Fort St John Mayor Lori Ackerman and the local MLA (and Ag Minister Pat Pimm) decided to apply a little pressure on the Ag Land Commission to approve this application and the history into it. View the well written article here. Integrity BC also speaks to this matter by calling for the resignation of Agriculture Minister (and Peace River North MLA) Pat Pimm. Read their press release here
Meanwhile - the Agriculture Land Commission was so disappointed on what occurred earlier this year, they felt it necessary to write a new Policy on the subject of Elected Officials & the Agriculture Land Commission. You can read that here
The Agriculture Land Commission (ALC) being a quasi-judicial body - I'm surprised that any elected official would even attempt to apply undue pressure on the ALC to approve an application, even when said application does not meet the legal test within the Agriculture Land Commission Act and has already been submitted for consideration from a local government with a recommendation to approve
As an Alternate Director - I understand clearly that once an ALR (Ag Land Reserve) application has been submitted by the local government for approval to the ALC, any further lobbying efforts are clearly inappropriate. Perhaps, instead of a policy, I firmly believe changes to the ALC Act requiring that any elected officials (MLA, Mayor, Councillor, Regional District Director or their Alternate) have no contact with any member of the provincial Agriculture Land Commission for a specific application, once submitted by that local government, should be implemented ASAP.
Finally - this case in Fort St John should trigger a refresher for all local elected officials (Mayor, Councillor and Regional District Directors/Alternate Directors) in British Columbia on how the ALR/ALC works and the specific process to which they can influence specific Ag Land Reserve applications for approval. It is essential that, for the ALR Lands in BC, there is a clear boundary between the provincial Ag Land Commission and the local government submitting that specific ALR application