ALR Review, Post 2

This post builds on “ALR Review, Post 1.” That post describes some concerns and passes on a suggestion to contact the chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, along with the premier and minister of agriculture. The following is the minister’s reply to a letter asking for a place in the process for public input. The use of red type has been added to the letter in order to highlight some key parts.

Dear [named citizen],

Thank you for your enquiry about the current review of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

I share your view that the ALR plays an integral role in supporting British Columbia’s important agricultural sector. To ensure the ongoing success of the ALR, the province has recently directed the new Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to review selected aspects of ALC policy and administration. You are no doubt aware that in the British Columbia Agricultural Plan, the Province committed to review the ALR to ensure it continues to meet our goals of preserving agricultural land for future generations of farm and ranch families. Government’s response to the Ranching Task Force also committed to seeking improvements in the ALR by reviewing its boundaries, the regulations affecting the intergenerational transfer of active ranch operations, and the non-farm use of land in the ALR.

On June 11, 2010, Richard Bullock was appointed as the Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). Shortly thereafter I requested the Chair to conduct a review of the ALC operations, policy, regulation, and legislation. As part of the review, the Chair will be engaging with a diverse group of stakeholders representing farmers, ranchers, environmental groups, local and regional governments, community interests and business. The purpose of this wide-ranging consultation is to ensure the ALC continues to effectively fulfill its mandate to support farm families and enhance the integrity and sustainability of agriculture in British Columbia. The Province supports the ALR and work done by the Commission, and it is important that the ALC continues to have the ability to do its job effectively as we move into the future. 

The ALR has been in place for 37 years as a means to preserve farmland that can be relied upon by British Columbia farmers for current and future agricultural purposes. British Columbia has preserved approximately 5% of its total land base within the ALR to provide a stable and secure platform for the agricultural economy and to retain this essential resource for the future. This is the first time in several years that there has been a significant review of the ALC.

Please be assured, the review will be an open and transparent process. Given that the new Chair of the ALC is leading the review process it would be inappropriate for me to presuppose the outcome. However, I look forward to receiving the Chair’s report later this fall.

Since the theme of your letter was the need for public comment as part of the review process, I encourage you to forward your input to Richard Bullock, Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, at 133-4940 Canada Way, Burnaby, BC V5G 4K6 or by email at ALCBurnaby@Victoria1.gov.bc.ca or by facsimile at 604 660-7033.

Thank you for writing to share your views.

Sincerely,
Steve Thomson
Minister

What do you think is the best approach to help protect the ALR—and with it the Garden City Lands—in this review process? If you prefer not to write blog comments, you can send your input to GardenCityLands@shaw.ca.

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