Provincial efforts to save the Agricultural Land Reserve for farming may be paying off, according to the latest annual report from the Agricultural Land Commission published at the end of June.
The most recent year ended March 31, 2019, saw just 524 acres excluded, less than any year since the reserve came into being in 1973.
However, it follows some of the largest exclusions in 20 years.
According to the report, a review of ALR boundaries in the East Kootenay region led to the exclusion of 7,106 acres in October 2017. This came a year after the exclusion of 2,065 acres as part of a final agreement with Tla’amin First Nation on the Sunshine Coast and two years after the province excluded nearly 9,200 acres for the Site C dam.
The exclusion for Site C was the largest since the exclusion of 14,325 acres in 2000. However, that year also saw the inclusion of more than 57,300 acres.
Today, the ALR totals 11.4 million acres, down from 11.7 million acres at inception. The report suggests that 76% of the ALR is suitable for crop production.