Our view: Agricultural Land Reserve worth preserving

Anyone who eats should care about the future of agricultural land in B.C.

Now is the chance to have your say on what the future of food production in B.C. – and more specifically Langley – will look like moving into the future.

There’s a public engagement process currently underway in this province, looking at revitalization of the Agricultural Land Reserve and the commission charged with overseeing it.

An overhaul of current legislative, regulatory, and administrative frameworks isn’t really the solution. What’s needed is a commission with backbone.

The ALC needs to stick to its original mandate, and send developers – residential, commercial, and industrial – packing.

The ALC is – and must remain – an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in B.C. That purpose seems to have been forgotten of late as more and more land is pulled out of the ALR.

We’re told the advisory committee conducting this review is halfway through the process. But sadly not many have spoken up.

There are 4.63 million people in 162 municipalities in B.C., yet Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham is boasting more than 7,510 visits to the engagement website, and stakeholder meetings held in nine communities.

The voices heard from so far, while “passionate,” according to Popham, have barely scratching the surface compared to the number of people who should be lobbying for ongoing and stricter preservation rules for the ALR.

Everyone who consumes food needs to make their voices heard before the review concludes.

Sure, we need to develop. But remember, we need to grow without sacrificing rich farmlands that produces so much of what we eat now and in the future.

Make sure your voice is heard.

– R.H.

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