Hello, new ALC South Coast Panel

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has announced the make-up of the six regional panels of the Agricultural Land Commission. Only six of the 18 appointees (vice chairs and other commissioners) are holdovers on the commission, and one of those will be replaced in December.

The news release provides brief bios. It’s hard to see how some of the appointees are qualified, but we just have to trust the selection process.

One of the senseless changes to the ALC Act in this year’s Bill 24, the bill to kill the ALR (unsuccessfully so far), was the removal of the ALC chair’s role in consulting on such appointments. I hope he was consulted anyway—and will have a key role in a great deal of orientation.

Bill Zylmans with strawberries

The panel for the South Coast Region, which includes Metro Vancouver, is chaired by the amiable William Zylmans of W & A Farms.

Bill is famous for his potatoes and strawberries (at right), and he has chaired Richmond’s Agricultural Advisory Committee for years.

Satwinder BainsThe two commissioners with Bill Zylmans on the ALC South Coast Panel include Gordon McCallum of Cloverdale, who is a retired elementary school principal. He is also a Lions Club member. (So far, no luck in finding a photo.)

The other is Satwinder Bains of Abbotsford, who is director of the Centre for Indo Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley. She is a PhD candidate with expertise in cross-cultural communication and community development.

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A related note: I was almost amused by the no-chance-lost pushing of talking points that’s evident from the title of the press release, “Regional panels named to make ALC decisions at local level.” The “ALC decisions at a local level” part can sound good at first, especially with the “Us against the Lower Mainland” mentality that the Bill 24 ministers (Bill Bennett and Pat Pimm) played to. However, one of the main reasons the ALR—a provincial zone, not a local one—was needed was the daunting challenge  for local governments coping with the well-funded power of big developers intent on making a fortune from the rezoning of farmland.

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