Learning from ALC Commissioner Karlsen

A letter from Agricultural Land Commissioner Erik Karlsen to a reader of this blog is illuminating. Before you read the following comments, you may wish to download Mr. Karlsen’s letter in Word so that you can refer to it.

In particular, it is clear that there is no reasonably foreseeable circumstance in which the Garden City Lands will stop being subject to ALR protection from development unless the City of Richmond somehow persuades the Agricultural Land Commission to exclude the property.

The sliver of uncertainty stems from the possibility that the Band would somehow find an alternative way to obtain possession of part or all of the Lands, even though CLC is supposed to give the City the right of first refusal during the life of the agreements, which should continue after the commission’s decision. After that, the Band would have to somehow obtain reserve status for its new property. Reserve status would be very hard to get, and it would not be desirable for the Band for any obvious reason. If the purpose would be to make things difficult for Richmond, the federal government would presumably not grant it —and the Band would presumably not even seek it for such a purpose.

In any case, the far-fetched reserve issue is irrelevant to the question of whether the Garden City Lands should or should not be excluded from the ALR. Under the existing agreements, both of which include the Band, the Band has the right to obtain one quarter of the property, rather than to just split the profits (with CLC) from the rezoning of the Development Lands. In theory, the Band could then seek reserve status for that land. Whether the Band were to obtain Garden City Lands property like that or through renegotiation of the existing agreements or somehow in some other way, its chances of getting the land recognized as a reserve would be the same: slim to none.

Essentially, Mr. Karlsen’s letter is further evidence that the Garden City Lands will almost certainly remain green and in the ALR if the Agricultural Land Commission turns down the current application to exclude the Lands.


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