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.”

 

Just Posted

CSRD approves grant application for electric vehicle

South Shuswap Transportation Society receives a lift from regional district

Kayaks, paddleboards stolen from tenants at Shuswap resort

Thefts reported to have occurred overnight on Wednesday, Aug. 14

In Photos: Sunday acts cap off Roots and Blues

Last day of the 2019 festival goes off under sunny skies

Update: Firetrucks off of Alexander Street, faulty air conditioning unit to blame

Occupants of downtown Salmon Arm building safe, back inside structure

Musicians wanted to play adventurous travellers along yellow brick road

Shuswap Theatre looking for artists to provide musical accompaniment for The Wizard of Oz

Knife-wielding man tries to break into Okanagan retirement home

Seniors and staff shaken by incident and upset with RCMP response

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan dog ‘Alice’ to get surgery thanks to BC SPCA crowdfunding

With the surgery, Alice’s prognosis is ‘excellent,’ stated the BC SPCA

Suspicious item forces 47 to evacuate plane at Kelowna airport

Kelowna RCMP continue investigation of suspicious item on airplane

Kelowna man nearly drowns on Okanagan Lake

The victim is in serious yet stable condition but his condition has worsened since going to hospital

Okanagan youth protest Tolko logging

Small group gathers outside Tolko head office

Kelowna International Airport threat deemed non-credible

Normal operations have resumed following note of a suspicious item on board a WestJet plane

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read