Attack on the ALR

MLA weighs in on proposal being considered by the Liberal government to gut ALR and ALC

I’m writing regarding a proposal being considered by the Liberal government to gut the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC).

The ALR was established four decades ago by the Dave Barrett NDP government to protect our agricultural land base and has survived governments of all political stripes. There have also been two recent reviews of the ALR and ALC by the Auditor General of B.C. and by the Chair of the Land Commission itself. Both these reviews recommended strengthening the ALC, not weakening it.

This has not deterred our Premier, who denied considering such reckless changes before the election.

This attack on the ALR, part of the Liberals’ Core Review process, would essentially hand over authority for the Land Reserve to the Oil and Gas Commission in northeast B.C.  The proposal would also bring the ALC within the Ministry of Agriculture, under the authority of the Minister.  The current Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm, has a long history in the oil and gas industry and his intervention in an application to the ALC is now being investigated by the legislature’s Conflict Commissioner.  The Province is also considering giving local governments greater authority over “community growth proposals.” These actions could result in significant loss of ALR land within the Capital Region.

It is important to push back on this agenda right now by e-mailing the Minister of Agriculture (pat.pimm.mla@leg.bc.ca), the Premier Christy Clark (premier@gov.bc.ca), and my office (gary.holman.mla@leg.bc.ca). The local Farmland Protection Coalition. The Coalition is also holding a town hall on the issue at the Mary Winspear Centre, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.

Gary Holman

MLA, Saanich North and the Islands