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.
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 http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/03/30/new-rules-are-alarmingly-open-to-interpretation-and-political-interference