Strengthening the ALR

Peter LadnerI think Peter Ladner has the right idea in Business in Vancouver: “The province’s ALR needs to be strengthened, not weakened.”

Here’s a quote that interests me:

Real estate development on ALR lands is often touted as a missed economic opportunity. But what that overlooks is a U.S. study of 150 counties that found that for every dollar of taxes raised by residential developments, public costs were $1.16, whereas lands used for agriculture cost only $0.35 for every dollar of taxes.

I think that would be essentially true here too. No matter how much development occurs here, it never makes a dent in our property taxes, which keep on rising faster than incomes.

In any case, Peter Ladner makes a good case for food security leading to economic opportunities. For instance, he writes:

Those who shrug off food security concerns and say we should rely on imported food belittle the scope and potential of B.C.’s $11.7 billion, recession-proof, steadily growing agricultural industry. According to the B.C. government, food and beverage processing is the largest manufacturing industry in the province. In the BIV Book of Lists, eight of the top 20 manufacturers in the Lower Mainland are food processors.

We do need to strengthen the ALR—by strengthening the Agricultural Land Commission. We strengthen it with enough money for two ALC activities:

  • Enforcement of the ALC Act.
  • ALR boundary reviews, mainly far north and east of us to begin with but also reaching Richmond so that the concerns about unfairness can be efficiently resolved once and for all.
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