July 14, 2008, Agricultural Land Commission update

Great news! As of today, July 14, 2008, the full application to the Agricultural Land Commission is now available online on the commission website’s Garden City Lands section.

Time is running short for submissions to the commission to support or oppose the application. One has until August 15 to get submissions to the commission, but it’s best to act sooner.

So far the commission has received 83 responses to the application from parties other than the applicants. Of those, 6, representing 6 people, are in favour of the application.

In contrast, 77, representing approximately 85 people, are opposed to the application, and the writers generally expressed themselves effectively. The opposed group includes Concillors Sue Halsey-Brandt and Linda Barnes. They wrote:

. . . over the past two years or so, we have become increasingly aware of urban farming practices and the looming environmental issues around food security. These critical and urgent issues face us locally and globally. For these reasons, we encourage you to reject the Garden City Lands exclusion application.

For those who are opposed to the application, the submissions that the commission has received so far are a good start, but do not be complacent. There could be a deluge of submissions from the “support” side at the last minute, and it is also not easy to determine how overwhelming the community opposition has to be to convince the commission’s South Coast Panel that there is no community need (or other justificatification) for removing the lands from the ALR.

Fortunately, many more citizens now have a general sense of what the application is about, and a one or two page submission that expresses your opposition to the application (or your support for it) is likely to have an effect in helping convey the community view to the commission.

You can send your submission to ALCBurnaby@Victoria1.gov.bc.ca. Further contact information is available on the contacts page of the ALC website. The application is being handled by land use planner Ron Wallace, working closely with executive director Brian Underhill, and you can get further information by phoning them and sometimes by emailing them.

It’s hard to find time to write in this summer weather, but this is everyone’s best opportunity to be genuinely heard on the Garden City Lands issue.

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