Farmers praise changes to protect agricultural land

The B.C. government is taking steps to enhance and strengthen the Agricultural Land Commission.

The B.C. government is taking steps to enhance and strengthen the Agricultural Land Commission and, in turn, protect the province’s agricultural land.

Increased enforcement for violations, increased funding and a five-year moratorium on repeat applications to remove land from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) are some of the ways in which the province hopes to help the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) become “more proactive in their work with local governments to encourage agriculture in their land use plans, bylaws and policies” while promoting agriculture, farm diversification and value-added processing in their communities.

This is something Deep Creek Farmers Institute director Lorne Hunter fully endorses.

“If this call from the ALC to make these applications better by having agriculture more involved in the muncipal land use planning, I think that’s a very strong positive for agriculture,” says Hunter,

Salmon Arm Farmers Institute member John McLeod is on the same page, particularly the moratorium, intended to help the ALC deal with a backlog of some 1,000 applications, the majority of which are not from farmers, but from land developers.

“I think it’s excellent because, typically, what happens is people just pester and pester until finally people just cave in on it,” says McLeod.

Salmon Arm development director Corey Paiement doesn’t expect this will have any impact on an agreement the city has with the ALC for the possible removal of agricultural lands in the upper Lakeshore and Hillcrest areas. Paiement couldn’t say if any other applications might be impacted, adding he would need more information.

The ALC is to receive an additional $1.6 million in total between 2011 and 2013 to help the organization develop a more self-sustaining model. One way is by allowing the ALC to charge service fees.

These measures address some of the concerns raised in a Review of the Agricultural Land Commission, released in November 2010 by provincial ALC chair Richard Bullock.

Among Bullock’s recommendations is that the ALC be able to respond to challenges, enforce regulations on the improper use of ALR land, and that it evolves into a proactive organization, as opposed to reactive and focused on applications.

Regarding local government involvement in promoting agriculture, both McLeod and Hunter look to the City of Salmon Arm, which is in the process of putting together an agricultural committee for 2012 that they hope will be regional in scope and have regional representation. Hunter argues such a body is warranted given the scope of agriculture in the region.

“It’s a huge economic base that we provide, not just in the employment that we provide directly through the farm, but all the businesses that we employ and make use of their services in the production of food is enormous,” says Hunter. “A stronger voice can not only protect agriculture, but also protect agriculture by dealing with the issues that are restricting agriculture, and providing information to the local public of all the good things that we do all the good things that we provide.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region is at 533

More wildfire smoke to fill the Okanagan

The smoke is coming from wildfires in California but is expected to be much lighter

Comedy festival bringing stand up shows to Salmon Arm

Three Canadian comics will grace the stage at the Salmar Classic.

Documentary to celebrate the Shuswap’s music scene

Local initiative to feature several of the region’s artists

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Guns seized in relation to southeast Kelowna murder investigation

RCMP seized several firearms from a West Kelowna home on Tuesday

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Okanagan man accused of attacking two young boys back in court

Brian Lamb will remain behind bars until at least Oct. 14

Most Read