Eaters, ranchers, growers and farmers. Everyone’s got a stake at the table.
Revitalization of both the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) are on the menu for the next six weeks.
Public consultation called for by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham has started in earnest across B.C. with an online survey for the public, and engagement sessions for invited stakeholders until the end of April.
Meetings are in several communities, but not Chilliwack.
The nine-member independent advisory committee including Chilliwack city councillor/farmer Chris Kloot, and UFV professor Lenore Newman, is pushing ahead with a mandate to hear from a broad range of stakeholders on how to create a robust ALR.
“It’s important to hear from all corners of the province,” said Kloot. “We aim to reach out and consult as many people as possible.”
The revitalizing topics are everything from defending the ag land base, to fish farms, zones 1 & 2, and the issue of monster homes on farmland. Non-farm use, food security and ALR resilience are also common themes.
The just-released discussion paper can be used as “a road map” for those revitalization conversations, Kloot said.
“The question of mega homes is one of the really big things so far,” said Coun. Kloot.
Chilliwack devised its own Farm Home Plate bylaw to discourage the practice of building monster homes, which may be something the province will look at on a broader scale.
The committee heard from stakeholders this week in Richmond, and Nanaimo, with the next closest session to Chilliwack slated for Abbotsford, at an undisclosed date, location and time.
The Advisory Committee will provide a final report to the Minister in fall 2018.
The public is invited to submit feedback and ideas by April 30, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.
There is a discussion paper to read first and then an online survey to complete.
Feedback from stakeholders and the public will help the committee provide “substantive recommendations” for revitalizing the ALR and the ALC, according to provincial officials.
“Public input is vital to the success of this initiative. The committee will use the input it receives during the engagement process to develop recommendations for the provincial government’s consideration.
“The recommendations may include changes to the current legislative, regulatory, and administrative framework to revitalize the ALR and the ALC. Any legislative changes that support the revitalization of the commission and the reserve are targeted for late 2018 or early 2019.”
For details on about how to provide input/feedback, email ALR_ALCRevitalization@gov.bc.ca.
Send written feedback to:
Minister’s Advisory Committee
Revitalization of ALR and ALC
C/o Ministry of Agriculture
PO Box 9120, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria BC V8W 9B4
The committee will also be hosting future regional stakeholder meetings with invited representatives to hear directly from the local farming and ranching communities and organizations in communities including Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, and Quesnel. But officials are not releasing the times, dates or locations of the meetings publicly at this point.