Keeping the Holm fires burning

There is a good news about Wendy Holm of Bowen Island, who has been a strong Save-Garden-City supporter. Wendy, a professional agrologist with an impressive resume as a leader, writer, and humanitarian, has fearlessly stood up for agrologists who dare to give second opinions.

In dealing with the Garden City Lands issue, we have seen there were evident shortcomings in the agricultural economist’s report that the exclusion applicants paid for in order to try to influence the Agricultural Land Commission to exclude the lands from the ALR. Although any critical thinker could pick out major flaws, it helps to have the truth brought out by a professional.

Eventually, the commission was duly unimpressed when it finally considered the ALR-exclusion application. However, Richmond Council could have saved everyone a lot of trouble, time, and expense by paying attention to Wendy Holm long before that. On the first day of the public hearing in March 2008, Wendy arrived more than an hour early in order to be the first speaker, and she then sat through the applicants’ filibuster in order to speak, despite having to miss the last ferry back to Bowen Island. Eventually, at 10:30 p.m., she was able to inform the hearing, even though most councillors evidently did not really listen.

Wendy also sent a submission about the Garden City Lands to the Agricultural Land Commission. Then, in September 2008, Wendy kept the public informed with an op-ed column in the Vancouver Sun. A large number of readers responded to an opinion poll related to the column, and almost all opposed taking the Garden City Lands out of the ALR.

On another matter, for her defense of an agrologist who dared to tell the truth, Wendy was subjected to an ethics complaint to the British Columbia Institute of Agrologists, a professional association that she has previously headed. The good news is that the complaint has been “stayed,” although Wendy and other agrologists who value integrity are pursuing the issue further so that agrologists’ ability to speak the truth will not be compromised in the future.

Besides being a relief for Wendy, the recent development with the agrologists’ institute reduces the silencing pressure against BC agrologists who express second opinions in the kinds of situation where they are typically needed. As we know from the Garden City Lands experience, they certainly need to be possible when parties trying to get land out of the ALR have paid for reports from the certain agrologists who can be counted on to support exclusion.

For details, read “Farm scientist off hook in ethics complaint, issues remain.”

A final note re Wendy Holm and Vancity Credit Union

Wendy Holm also brings these values to her role as a director of Vancity Credit Union. She donated her 2009 Vancity Director’s Grant of $15,000 to UBC Farm to support the trial of a Havana-based urban food production and distribution system. Wendy sees Vancity taking an increasing role in supporting our region’s move along the path to global excellence in this area. She is currently seeking reelection as a Vancity director.


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