This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: New rules are alarmingly open to interpretation and political interference

The winner of last week’s duel on the port strike was Laila with 79%.

This week’s topic:

Are changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve good for British Columbia?

Despite the vast size of this amazing country, many would be surprised to learn that approximately 94% of all land across Canada is not suitable for any kind of farming. In fact, the small percentage that is suitable for agricultural use has been steadily shrinking for decades.

Even with the protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve here in B.C. that land is under threat from developers eagerly waiting for a chance to snap it up.

Last week, in a move that was condemned by the opposition along with some farmers and agricultural advocates across the province, the BC Liberal government introduced changes to the mandate of the Agricultural Land Commission that could lead to a permanent loss of farmland. Not only do the changes open the door for potential urban development on ALR land, but with it the potential for industrial or resource use as well.

Brent Stafford’s column

The changes split the ALR into two zones — Zone 1 is comprised of the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan, while Zone 2 covers the rest of the province, and nearly 90% of the land in the ALR. While the government claims little will change in Zone 1, the amendment act greatly relaxes the rules in Zone 2, in a manner alarmingly open to interpretation.

Another concern in the legislation was pointed out by independent MLA Vicki Huntington last week, which is a change to the makeup of the ALC board. The amendments would allow the government to appoint six new members without any consultation of the chair of the board, which is a current requirement to ensure the hiring is based on merit, not political patronage…


Read the rest of this weeks columns, comment and vote at

6 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: New rules are alarmingly open to interpretation and political interference

  1. A person who previously worked for BC’s agriculture department told me last year that ALR rules would soon change because well connected developers were complaining that spoils were going to too few people in areas around Surrey/Langley, compared to the eastern Fraser Valley. However, no one wanted the ALR terminated; developers want land to come out of the reserve in a steady but limited fashion so the right people stay busy and prices stay high.

    So, changes in the ALC result, aimed not at protecting agricultural land but protecting developers, at least the ones who are friends of Government.


  2. No land ought to be taken out of the ALR. At the rate this world’s population is growing, we will need every square inch for food production. Importing food is not a solution. One good drought can ruin an entire meal, not to mention country. With the continuing droughts in California and winter freezings in Florida, we need to give very serious thought to food security.

    It is very interesting what they are doing in Detroit, which has been deserted in some areas. The city of Detroit has been selling the land to people who are now farming it. One such project has been the sale of 27 acres so forests can be planted. the trees will be harvested at a future date and it will increase property values in the area. The farms which are being established in what was the urban city of Detroit, are selling their food in the City of Detroit. Now the lower mainland does not have the same problems regarding vacant land in urban centres, but we do have the same problems when it comes to food security.

    Of course the developers want the land. They make profits. The rest of us pay the taxes for the infrastructure. We don’t need to increase populations in areas where there are farms. Civilization will not fall if a mall or housing development is not built. Civilization will fall if we don’t have food and water. It might be better if we just hung on to all that land for food production. This isn’t about tomorrow, or next yr. but 100 yrs from now and that comes a whole lot quicker than you think.


  3. In most of Canada and especially in BC, rabid greed trumps common sense every time. Big businesses are bottomless pits of greed.

    The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals are corrupt to their very core. So, of course our rich farmland will be sold out for, pure unadulterated greed. We can’t have developers sniveling because, someone is getting more than their share of the pie. Big business thinks, we can grow our food crops on mountain tops. They also think we can drink poisoned water.

    Nor, do I forget Harper nor Gordon Campbell’s part, in the destruction of this province. Harper declares himself, a devout Christian. We have all seen Christy’s photo ops with her hands folded in prayer, at every ethnic event.

    Six members of my family, served in WW2. Quite frankly, the BC Liberals nor Harper and his Cons, are worth our young Canadian boys dying for.

    Greed is one of the deadly sins and BC is crammed full with that deadly sin, in every nook and cranny.

    The more aged I become, the more my contempt of government shows. Greed will take our rich agricultural farmland. Count on it.


  4. I am very discouraged and upset. In this day and age, of course they shouldn’t be building on agricultural lands. Even the extreme weather patterns are destroying food crops, all around the globe. California’s droughts, floods everywhere, the terrible storm in the Philippines. The loss of food crops is alarming. So is the loss of, clean drinking water alarming.

    However as we constantly see? Greed trumps common sense every time. Our BC, rich market gardens, orchards, ranch lands all going, in the name of greed and urban sprawl.

    It is as they say? Man is the most destructive animal on this earth and, the most stupid ones at that.


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