by Peter Mitham
VANCOUVER – Lower Mainland farmland could be sacrificed to ensure agri-
“We do not want to lose agricultural land but it’s no good producing products that you can’t move, either,” MacAulay said, answering a question from Country Life in BC following a presentation to Greater Vancouver Board of Trade members on September 12. “So it’s one way or the other – the port in Vancouver has to be efficient to move the products to market. The Asian market is a big market, only going to get larger, and we want to be there.”
MacAulay was in Vancouver as part of a tour of Western Canada that stretched from Saskatchewan grainfields to a craft brewery on Vancouver Island.
Opportunities to boost agri-
But the thrust of his remarks focused on Vancouver’s port facilities and the launch pad those provide for Asia-
“We have to make sure that they can handle the products as fast as they possibly can and as efficiently as they possibly can,” he said.
MacAulay’s comments won’t sit well with municipalities such as Richmond or local farmland advocates who have challenged the Port of Vancouver’s plans to tap local farmland for port-
Yet the port, as a federal entity, holds the trump card: while it has pledged to file exclusion applications to remove protected farmland from the province’s Agricultural Land Reserve, it’s under no obligation to do so as an arm of the senior level of government.
“I don’t think we would be bound [by the Agricultural Land Commission],” Robin Silvester, president and CEO of the port authority, said earlier this year. “We have supremacy.”
Site Economics Ltd. prepared a report for the port authority in October 2015 that estimates port activities will require approximately 2,700 acres by 2030. The demand could cost Delta alone 1,500 acres of productive farmland, according to the Delta Farmers’ Institute.
Silvester believe local agriculture is “almost meaningless” when it comes to local food security but that stance is at odds with MacAulay’s message to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
Responding to a question from the audience regarding organic production, MacAulay said his job is to ensure farmers in Canada are capturing local markets before venturing into exports.
“There are products that we aren’t producing enough of, and I want to help you produce those products so that you receive the benefit,” he told his audience, which included very few farmers. “My responsibility is to help you, and I want to do it.”
Vol. 102 Issue 10
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
One province, one panel
Groundwater deadline extended
Happy as a pig!
Sidebar: Still waiting
Feds pour millions into tree fruit research
Sidebar: Will local procurement help?>
Editorial: Confined spaces
Back Forty: BC farmers need more than a land bank
Island Good campaign drives local sales
Poultry industry seeks to stop infighting
Egg farmers to receive biggest quota boost ever
New entrant focus
Decision day looms for chicken pricing appeal
Producers look to CanadaGAP for certification
Organic sector undertakes core review
Hopping to it!
Island couple named Outstanding Young Farmers
Turkey consumption continues to decline
BC potato growers enjoy a strong footing
Sudden tree fruit dieback a growing concern
Late season BC cherries in global demand
Farmers’ markets aim to be local food hubs
Field trial hopes to reduce phosphorus levels
Future looking bright for BC dairy producers
BC could benefit from US trade battles
Saputo puts its Courtenay plant out to pasture
The land of milk and salmon
Sidebar: Farming for the future
Out of the hands of BC farmers
Codes of practice need producer input
Preparation essential for wildfire response
Sidebar: Relief announced for drought, fire
Sidebar: Be FireSmart with these tips
New traceability regs to track movement
Agriculture a notable threat to species at risk
Improper pesticide use threatens access
Threat to neonics spurs scare in spud growers
Orchard presses forward with diversification
Staying on top of soil health is key to sound farming
No small potatoes
Farm families need to have affairs in order
Rotary parlours go upscale at two FV dairies
Study compares organic, conventional diets
Advisory service foresees growing demand
Sidebar: Tree fruit cutbacks a concern
Island dairy producers hone first aid skills
Woodshed: And that’s how rumours get their teeth
Research farm showcases small projects
Jude’s Kitchen: Shooting stars of spring