Former Agricultural Land Commission chair Richard Bullock. (Jeff Nagel/Black Press Media)

Former Agricultural Land Commission chair Richard Bullock. (Jeff Nagel/Black Press Media)

Fired B.C. farmland commission chair backs NDP rule changes

Richard Bullock agrees with Lana Popham, ALC records don’t

Former B.C. Agricultural Land Commission chair Richard Bullock has come out in favour of the NDP government’s changes to commission rules, arguing that the farmland protection organization is facing too many applications for exclusion.

Richard Bullock was fired by the B.C. Liberal government in 2015 after he resisted their use of regional panels to decide on secondary uses and land exclusion applications. Bullock sent a letter to Black Press Media Monday, supporting the latest changes tabled by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham to eliminate the regional panels and make property owners apply through their local government, rather than directly after local government input.

READ MORE: B.C. Liberals axe Agricultural Land Commission chair

READ MORE: B.C. farmers aren’t ‘persons’ under new ALR legislation

“Having reviewed the proposed legislation and read the media coverage, as I understand it, individual landowners will continue to be able to apply for subdivision and non-farm uses in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR),” Bullock wrote. “During my tenure, and I believe it is still the case today, [subdivision and non-farm use applications are] a very low proportion of applications to the ALC, less than 10 per cent.

“As chair, I observe that the large majority of the exclusion applications were not from farmers and ranchers but instead from folks looking to make a substantial gain from paving over good agricultural land.”

The most recent ALC archived decisions are from 2016, the year after Bullock was replaced by former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard. After Leonard was appointed, secondary use rules were relaxed for areas of B.C. outside southern Vancouver Island, the South Coast and Okanagan regions where the vast majority of farm revenues are generated.

In the South Coast region, the main focus of development pressure since the ALR was established in the 1970s, decisions for 2016 show the opposite of Bullock’s description. For that year, there were 88 applications for secondary residences and subdivisions of farmland, and only 10 for excluding land.

ALC records also show that applications of all kinds have fallen significantly since the 1980s. The ALC reports that in the calendar year 2018, it received a total of 39 exclusion applications from all regions combined.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Agricultural Land ReserveBC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file)
Webinars help Greater Victoria residents affected by dementia prepare for the holidays

COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions can add additional challenges for people living with dementia

Masks are mandatory for passengers on board BC Transit buses and for those waiting at covered bus stops. (BC Transit/Facebook)
Masks now mandatory on BC Transit buses, at covered bus stops

Face shields no longer meet face-covering requirements per updated policy

Rose Ellis, 93, and her Shih Tzu, Zoey, have been clients of ElderDog Victoria since last summer. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria ElderDog program seeking more seniors, pups to support

Service helps elderly people to care for their canine companions

Mona Strelaeff, a Metchosin resident, is the first non-terminally ill person in Canada to be allowed to use psilocybin assisted therapy. (Provided by Spencer Hawkswell)
Metchosin woman’s trauma treatment could be trendsetting

Experts say this could signal the broadening of who can access psilocybin therapy

Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop is changing owners with longtime owner Odean Long transferring ownership Dec. 1 to William Matthews. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Longtime owner of Sidney’s Haunted Bookshop closes chapter with sale

Odean Long and her late husband moved the business to Sidney in 1996

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read