ALR Review, Post 3

The current ALR Review will be a milestone in wise and effective conservation of BC’s scarce agricultural land. You can have an impact in it.

Today I asked Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) professional staff to tell us the final date for citizen input to the ALR Review that is being led by the new Chair and CEO, Richard Bullock. They said to get everything in by Friday, Oct. 8.  

What might you say? Say something concise, informed, and constructive that could influence the provincial government to improve the pitifully scant funding of the ALC and/or that would  improve ALC policies, with or without a change in the ALC Act. For background, you could do a search (top left corner of this page) for “ALR Review” and read previous posts on the topic. Or, time permmitting, you can probably learn a great deal from what the Garden City Lands Coalition Society delivered to Mr. Bullock one week ago.

Our eight-page presentation is called Strengthen and improve the ALR together. (We provided it as a PDF file and as booklets, printed classily but inexpensively, thanks to supportive printers.) Our recommendations and additional suggestions are listed below. You might wish to build on one or two of them in your own way in order to contribute helpful insight.

Our recommendations to the ALC:

  • Retain and strengthen the range of Agricultural Land Reserve uses—permitted uses.
  • Obtain more funding so that Commissioners can be paid to study all available evidence and so that effective enforcement can occur. (That would be double the current budget.)
  • In dealing with local governments, rely less on them, expect more from them, monitor more, and enforce more.
  • Listen to the wisdom and stakeholder concerns of citizens and their NGOs.
  • Do not hear any applicant that has ignored previous ALC advice on the application matter.
  • End the ALC-resource-draining problems exemplified by the 2008 Garden City Lands application by ending the “community need” argument and/or giving credible NGOs status before the tribunal and/or applying the “Two Strikes You’re Out” rule.

 Our additional suggestions:

  • As reasons to provide ALR protection, support whatever ALR uses suit particular land, regardless of whether they are “farm uses.”
  • Capitalize on the different kinds of potential of urban ALR land like the Garden City Lands to complement rural ALR land to achieve the intents of the B.C. Agriculture Plan and the ALC.
  • Encourage emulation of Richmond’s Terra Nova Rural Park success—with local adaption, as proposed for Richmond’s Garden City Lands in the ALR.

Sending it to ALC Chair and CEO Richard Bullock

Send it to Richard Bullock at ALCBurnaby@Victoria1.gov.bc.ca with a relevant subject line (including the words “ALR Review” ). Also cc the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Hon. Steve Thomson, at AL.Minister@gov.bc.ca. Try very hard to get it there by Friday, Oct. 8. If you can’t quite manage that, at least make sure it will be there before the staff start work on Tuesday, Oct. 12, the day after Thanksgiving .

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