It seems the BC Liberals have no pride, they will do anything for the all-mighty dollar and the fossil fuel industry. Now, in contrast to their campaign promises, they are pushing through Bill 24 to change the Agricultural Land Commission which could threaten BC farmland and our food production.
Thanks to our own MLA and NDP agriculture critic Nicholas Simons we are all becoming aware of just what is at stake here. The bill will change the present ALC and divide farmland into two zones. Zone 1 includes the lower Mainland and the Okanagan farm lands, very productive lands for BC. The new Zone 2 will include the Northeast and the Kooteneys. The new regulations would allow lands to be more easily removed from the ALR.
Simons points out that the present ALC's regulations permit a variety of uses for farming familys to support themselves and keep their farms. This includes B&B's, campgrounds, animal breeding, composting, conservation and research, education and wildlife viewing. All of which would seem to enhance a farm environment.
The new regulations would also leave decisions making on land-use to local boards and away from the Commission. It would be harder for a local board to turn down requests from their neighbors. Especially if that neighbor claims they need that gas pipeline or condo permit to "save their farm". Pipelines are permitted under existing dedicated right of way.
At a time when we are promoting local growers and local food, it would be unconstructive to risk losing any of our productive food growing lands. The drought in California only emphasizes the importance of growing locally. British Columbia must be able to produce much of our own food.
BC Produce, We Grow It, We Know It!