Frank Leonard earned more than $218,000 during his three years as chair of the Agricultural Land Commission. (Black Press file image)

Former Saanich mayor earned more than $218,000 during three years as ALC chair

Frank Leonard became chair of ALC in May 2015 after losing election to Richard Atwell

Former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard earned $218,191 during three years as chair of the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC), the administrative tribunal “dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia.”

RELATED: Election 2014: Richard Atwell defeats Frank Leonard in Saanich mayoral race

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This figure emerges from public remuneration figures available through the ALC’s website. They show Leonard earned $80,421 in the fiscal year 2015-16, $62,712.50 in the fiscal year 2016-17, and $75,037.50 in the fiscal year 2017-18.

Leonard became chair of the ALC and interim CEO of the ALC in May 2015, after the dismissal of Richard Bullock. Jennifer Dyson replaced Leonard in May 2018 after he had completed his term.

Leonard became ALC chair after Richard Atwell defeated the six-term mayor in 2014. Atwell has since lost this office to Fred Haynes. Leonard, whom voters first elected to Saanich council in 1986, served a total of 28 years in municipal office. Leonard said at the time that his defeat would give him an opportunity to get a job in the “real world.”

Leonard’s appointment to the ALC in May 2015 at the time did not sit well with then and current local MLA Lana Popham, who criticized Leonard’s appointment in her role as agriculture critic for the New Democratic opposition.

“By replacing B.C.’s agricultural watch dog with someone with no background in agriculture, the B.C. Liberals are making it clear that their attack on the ALR has only just begun,” she said at the time.

Little more than three years later, Popham switched roles in becoming minister of agriculture, a role that gives her considerable say in the appointment of the ALC chair.

RELATED: Farmland review head named Agricultural Land Commission chair

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“On behalf of the B.C. government, I would like to thank Frank Leonard for completing his term,” said Popham in a release announcing the appointment of Dyson, who had served as an ALC commissioner for 10 years before chairing the new government’s review of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). “We are always appreciative of those who step up and dedicate their time in public service,” she said.

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