May 1, 2019
by PETER MITHAM
The province has released the final report of the committee appointed to recommend ways to revitalize the Agricultural Land Commission, nearly five months after it was submitted.
The report makes 32 recommendations and concludes by encouraging an “agriculture first” approach to managing the Agricultural Land Reserve. Dated December 4, the province released it April 30.
The report reveals the basis for the province’s controversial bid to prevent landowners from making direct application to the ALC to exclude land from the ALR.
“The original intention of the exclusion application process in the Act was for owners of land ‘caught’ in the original land freeze that may have been erroneously included in the ALR during the designation process,” the report states. “After 47 years, it is expected that these legitimate applications would now be complete. One can also assume that most ALR landowners today purchased their land knowing it was in the ALR.”
The committee therefore recommended stripping landowners of the right to exclude properties, as well as excluding them from any consultations by ALC regarding exclusion applications.
“Removing landowner consent re-establishes the Commission’s ability to plan for a defensible and contiguous ALR boundary,” the committee argues.
The report also recommends requiring local government bylaws that “affect” the ALR meet the commission’s approval. The commission, in turn, should retain control over all decision-making, not local government. The final report was originally meant to guide government initiatives. However, the province indicated no immediate actions in response to the recommendations.
Instead, a press release announcing the report’s release points to various initiatives undertaken prior to the recommendations being made public, including relaunching Buy BC, a local procurement strategy as part of the Feed BC initiative and $375,00 in funding for a land-matching program undertaken by Young Agrarians. It also cited the passage of Bill 52 last fall and introduction of Bill 15 this winter, making the report seem more like the rationale for its actions rather than a guidebook.
“The release of the final report completes the committee’s work that began in January 2018,” the province says.
Vol. 105 Issue 5
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
What on earth?
Opposition slams ALC bill
Sidebar: Protection & pushback
Editorial: Truth in labelling
Back Forty: So you don’t believe in climate change
Viewpoint: Don’t blame the cows for global warming
Ag council’s lobbying efforts produce results
Learning a new skill
Foundation’s nest egg for funding projects increases
Province will hold the line on piece rates
New CEO aims to kindle team spirit at co-op
FIRB decision prompts rethink of pricing scheme
Beekeepers see potential in technology transfer
AgSafe markes quarter century
Raspberries hit hard by harsh February
Blueberry growers anxious for new varieties
Biological controls for pests in demand
Sidebar: Pesticides in play
Growers urged to focus on fresh
Westgen celebrates 75 years of excellence
Top seller was no-show at Holstein sale
Spring show attracts exhibitors from Quebec
Cheesemakers unite to grow niche market
Range use permits under greater scrutiny
Sidebar: Range use plans go digital
Market Musings: Top bulls sell for top dollar at spring sales
Grapegrowers share sustainability objectives
Grape specialist honoured for dedication
Hazelnut production expands across BC
Sidebar: Pest pressures
Supporters take to AITC’s Sips & Sprouts
Research: Cultured meat fails to impress researchers
UAVs undergo testing for pesticide delivery
Sustainability goes beyond saving farmland
Father and daughter roll with the last of the steel wheels
Woodshed: Susan Henderson is warming to country life
Wannabe: Farming is more than just a job
Surplus, cull fruit finds new purpose as tasty snacks
Jude’s Kitchen: Special food for special moms