Minister defends ALR bill following criticism over proposed changes

To the editor,

Last week, I introduced Bill 15, the agricultural land commission act 2019. It will strengthen the governance and independence of the ALC so it can better encourage farming and protect our most valuable farmland in B.C.

The ALR was a game changer when it was implemented 45 years ago.

Unfortunately, the old government allowed pressures to weaken the protection and purpose of our farmland, encouraging non-farm use and speculation on the less than five per cent of B.C.’s land that is reserved specifically for farming and ranching in B.C.

I am proud to be part of a government with a clear message – British Columbia’s ALR is for farming. Last year, we introduced changes to put a stop to the illegal dumping of garbage and construction waste on farmland, to address speculation and mega-mansions, while supporting multi-generational farming families and to unify the ALR, bringing back one zone to make it clear that the whole ALR benefits from the same strong protections.

With our new bill, we are proposing further changes that will give the ALC the tools it needs so it’s better equipped to do its job.

The commission will have guaranteed regional representation and a new flexibility to organize commissioners into decision-making panels on applications, when warranted, by topic, technical expertise or geography. We are not changing the rule that private landowners who want to remove land from the ALC need to work through local government.

However, under the new rules it will be local government that will make the application, so it is clear that the requested exclusion fits with local area plans and community standards.

We want to stop the “Swiss-cheesing” of the ALR, removing small pieces of farmland in many places, because this makes it more challenging to farm and harder for farming communities to thrive.

There is no question, the old government left us with some major challenges and I am moving forward by making positive changes for the people in our agriculture sector.

By ensuring that affordable agricultural land is available now and into the future, we are helping farmers and ranchers continue to thrive and supporting new farmers who are building their farming businesses.

Continuing to preserve the ALR and strengthening the ALC is just part of this new government’s work to support B.C. farmers so we have access to safe, locally grown food for generations to come.

Lana Popham

Minister of Agriculture

Just Posted

Diaries: The gun range

I never understood the fascination with guns. I suppose I didn’t care… Continue reading

100 Mile House’s Royal Canadian Legion chapter honours veterans with dinner

The Royal Canadian Legion chapter of 100 Mile House invited 14 veterans… Continue reading

New wildfire discovered east of Gustafsen Lake

Lightning is the suspected cause of a new wildfire near 100 Mile House

100 Mile House District Council initiates Community Transition support after Norbord announcement

‘We are going to do everything we can to make sure 100 Mile House is resilient as a community’

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

New wildfire discovered east of Gustafsen Lake

Lightning is the suspected cause of a new wildfire near 100 Mile House

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read